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Let thy chief teiTor be of thine own soul : 
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AH RigJifs reserved 





Men can do nothing without the make-believe of a beginning. Even 
Science, the strict measurer, is obliged to start with a make-believe unit, 
and must fix on a point in the stars' unceasing journey when his sidereal 
clock shall pretend that time is at Nought. His less accurate grand- 
mother Poetry has always been understood to start in the middle ; but on 
reflection it appears that her proceeding is aot very dififerent from his ; 
since Science, too, reckons backwards as well as forwards, divides his unit 
into billions, and with his clock-finger at Nought really sets ofiF in medias 
res. No retrospect will take us to the true beginning ; and whether our 
prologue be in heaven or on earth, it is but a fraction of that all-presuppos- 
ing fact with which our story sets out. 

Was she beautiful or not beautiful? and what 
was the secret of form or expression which gave 
the dynamic quality to her glance? Was the 
good or the evil genius dominant in those 
beams ? Probably the evil ; else why was the 
effect that of unrest rather than of undisturbed 


charm? Why was the wish to look again felt 
as coercion and not as a longing in which the 
whole being consents ? 

She who raised these questions in Daniel Der- 
onda's mind was occupied in gambling : not in the 
open air under a southern sky, tossing coppers on 
a ruined wall, with rags about her limbs ; but in 
one of those splendid resorts which the enlighten- 
ment of ages has prepared for the same species of 
pleasure at a heavy cost of gilt mouldings, dark- 
toned colour and chubby nudities, all correspond- 
ingly heavy — forming a suitable condenser for 
human breath belonging, in great part, to the 
highest fashion, and not easily procurable to be 
breathed in elsewhere in the like proportion, at 
least by persons of little fashion. 

It was near four o'clock on a September day, so 
that the atmosphere was well-brewed to a visible 
haze. There was deep stillness, broken only by 
a light rattle, a light chink, a small sweeping 
sound, and an occasional monotone in French, 
such as might be expected to issue from an in- 
geniously constructed automaton. Bound two 
long tables were gathered two serried crowds of 
human beings, all save one having their faces and 
attention bent on the tables. The one exception 
was a melancholy little boy, with his knees and 


calves simply in their natural clothing of epider- 
mis, but for the rest of his person in a fancy 
dress. He alone had his face turned towards the 
doorway, and fixing on it the blank gaze of a 
bedizened child stationed as a masquerading ad- 
vertisement on the platform of an itinerant show, 
stood close behind a lady deeply engaged at the 

About this table fifty or sixty persons were 
assembled, many in the outer rows, where there 
was occasionally a deposit of new comers, being 
mere spectators, only that one of them, usually 
a woman, might now and then be observed put- 
ting down a five-franc piece with a simpering air, 
just to see what the passion of gambling really 
was. Those who were taking their pleasure at a 
higher strength, and were absorbed in play, showed 
very distant varieties of European type : Livonian 
and Spanish, Grseco - Italian and miscellaneous 
German, English aristocratic and English plebeian. 
Here certainly was a striking admission of human 
equality. The white bejewelled fingers of an 
English countess were very near touching a bony, 
yellow, crab-like hand stretching a bared wrist to 
clutch a heap of coin — a hand easy to sort with 
the square, gaunt face, deep-set eyes, grizzled eye- 
brows, and ill-combed scanty hair which seemed 


a slight metamorphosis of the vulture. And 
where else would her ladyship have graciously 
consented to sit by that dry -lipped feminine 
figure prematurely old, withered after short bloom 
like her artificial flowers, holding a shabby vel- 
vet reticule before her, and occasionally putting 
in her mouth the point with which she pricked 
her card ? There too, very near the fair countess, 
was a respectable London tradesman, blond and 
soft -handed, his sleek hair scrupulously parted 
behind and before, conscious of circulars addressed 
to the nobility and gentry, whose distinguished 
patronage enabled him to take his holidays fash- 
ionably, and to a certain extent in their distin- 
guished company. Not his the gambler's passion 
that nullifies appetite, but a well-fed leisure, 
which in the intervals of winning money in busi- 
ness and spending it showily, sees no better re- 
source than winning money in play and spending 
it yet more showily — reflecting always that Provi- 
dence had never manifested any disapprobation of 
his amusement, and dispassionate enough to leave 
off if the sweetness of winning much and seeing 
others lose had turned to the sourness of losing 
much and seeing others win. For the vice of 
gambling lay in losing money at it. In his bear- 
ing there might be something of the tradesman. 


but in his pleasures he was fit to rank with the 
owners of the oldest titles. Standing close to his 
chair was a handsome Italian, calm, statuesque, 
reaching across him to place the first pile of na- 
poleons from a new bagful just brought him by 
an envoy with a scrolled mustache. The pile 
was in half a minute pushed over to an old be- 
wigged woman with eyeglasses pinching her nose. 
There was a slight gleam, a faint mumbling smile 
about the lips of the old woman ; but the statu- 
esque Italian remained impassive, and — probably 
secure in an infallible system which placed his 
foot on the neck of chance — immediately pre- 
pared a new pile. So did a man with the air 
of an emaciated beau or worn-out libertine, who 
looked at life through one eyeglass, and held out 
his hand tremulously when he asked for change. 
It could surely be no severity of system, but rather 
some dream of white crows, or the induction that 
the eighth of the month was lucky, which inspired 
the fierce yet tottering impulsiveness of his play. 
But while every single player differed markedly 
from every other, there was a certain uniform 
negativeness of expression which had the effect 
of a mask — as if they had all eaten of some root 
that for the time compelled the brains of each to 
the same narrow monotony of action. 


Deronda's first thought when his eyes fell on 
this scene of dull, gas -poisoned absorption was 
that the gambling of Spanish shepherd-boys had 
seemed to him more enviable : — so far Eousseau 
might be justified in maintaining that art and 
science had done a poor service to mankind. But 
suddenly he felt the moment become dramatic. 
His attention was arrested by a young lady who, 
standing at an angle not far from him, was the 
last to whom his eyes travelled. She was bend- 
ing and speaking English to a middle-aged lady 
seated at play beside her ; but the next instant 
she returned to her play, and showed the full 
height of a graceful figure, with a face which 
might possibly be looked at without admiration, 
but could hardly be passed with indifference. 

The inward debate which she raised in Deronda 
gave to his eyes a growing expression of scrutiny, 
tending farther and farther away from the glow 
of mingled undefined sensibilities forming ad- 
miration. At one moment they followed the 
movements of the figure, of the arms and hands, 
as this problematic sylph bent forward to deposit 
her stake with an air of firm choice; and the 
next they returned to the face which, at present 
unaffected by behcrlders, was directed steadily to- 
wards the game. The sylph was a winner ; and 


as her taper fingers, delicately gloved in pale- 
grey, were adjusting the coins which had been 
pushed towards her in order to pass them back 
again to the winning point, she looked round her 
with a survey too markedly cold and neutral not 
to have in it a little of that nature which we call 
art concealing an inward exultation. 

But in the course of that survey her eyes met 
Deronda's, and instead of averting them as she 
would have desired to do, she was unpleasantly 
conscious that they were arrested — how long ? 
The darting sense that he was measuring her and 
looking down on her as an inferior, that he was of 
different quality from the human dross around 
her, that he felt himself in a region outside and 
above her, and was examining her as a specimen 
of a lower order, roused a tingling resentment 
which stretched the moment with conflict. It 
did not bring the blood to her cheeks, but sent it 
away from her lips. She controlled herself by 
the help of an inward defiance, and without other 
sign of emotion than this lip-paleness turned to 
her play. But Deronda's gaze seemed to have 
acted as an evil eye. Her stake was gone. No 
matter; she had been winning ever since she 
took to roulette with a few napoleons at com- 
mand, and had a considerable reserve. She had 


begun to believe in her luck, others had begun to 
believe in it: she had visions of being followed 
by a corthge who would worship her as a goddess 
of luck and watch her play as a directing augury. 
Such things had been known of male gamblers ; 
why should not a woman have a like supremacy ? 
Her friend and chaperon who had not wished 
her to play at first was beginning to approve, 
only administering the prudent advice to stop 
at the right moment and carry money back to 
England — advice to which Gwendolen had re- 
plied that she cared for the excitement of 
play, not the winnings. On that supposition the 
present moment ought to have made the flood- 
tide in her eager experience of gambling. Yet 
when her next stake was swept away, she felt the 
orbits of her eyes getting hot, and the certainty 
she had (without looking) of that man stiU watch- 
ing her was something like a pressure which be- 
gins to be torturing. The more reason to her why 
she should not flinch, but go on playing as if she 
were indifferent to loss or gain. Her friend 
touched her elbow and proposed that they should 
quit the table. For reply Gwendolen put ten 
louis on the same spot: she was in that mood 
of defiance in which the mind loses sight of any 
end beyond the satisfaction of enraged resistance ; 


and with the puerile stupidity of a dominant 
impulse includes luck among its objects of de- 
fiance. Since she was not winning strikingly, 
the next best thing was to lose strikingly. She 
controlled her muscles, and showed no tremor of 
mouth or hands. Each time her stake was swept 
off she doubled it. Many were now watching 
her, but the sole observation she was conscious 
of was Deronda's, who, though she never looked 
towards him, she was sure had not moved away. 
Such a drama takes no long while to play out : de- 
veloprpent and catastrophe can often be measured 
by nothing clumsier than the moment-hand. 
"Faites votre jeu, mesdames et messieurs," said 
the automatic voice of destiny from between the 
mustache and imperial of the croupier ; and 
Gwendolen's arm was stretched to deposit her 
last poor heap of napoleons. "Le jeu ne va 
plus," said destiny. And in five seconds Gwen- 
dolen turned from the table, but turned resolutely 
with her face towards Deronda and looked at him. 
There was a smile of irony in his eyes as their 
glances met; but it was at least better that he 
should have kept his attention fixed on her than 
that he should have disregarded her as one of an 
insect swarm who had no individual physiognomy. 
Besides, in spite of his superciliousness and irony, 


it was difficult to believe that he did 'not admire 
her spirit as well as her person : he was young, 
handsome, distinguished in appearance — not one 
of those ridiculous and dowdy Philistines who 
thought it incumbent on them to blight the 
gaming-table with a sour look of protest as they 
passed by it. The general conviction that we are 
admirable does not easily give way before a single 
negative ; rather when any of Vanity's large family, 
male or female, find their performance received 
coldly, they are apt to believe that a little more 
of it will win over the unaccountable dissident. 
In Gwendolen's habits of mind it had been taken 
for granted that she knew what was admirable 
and that she herself was admired. This basis of 
her thinking had received a disagreeable con- 
cussion, and reeled a little, but was not easily to 
be overthrown. 

In the evening the same room was more 
stiflingly heated, was brilliant with gas and with 
the costumes of many ladies who floated 
their trains along it or were seated on the 

The Nereid in sea-green robes and silver orna- 
ments, with a pale sea-green feather fastened in 
silver falling backward over her green hat and 
light-brown hair,} was Gwendolen Harleth. She 


was under the wing or rather soared by the 
shoulder of the lady who had sat by her at the 
roulette-table; and with them was a gentleman 
with a white mustache and clipped hair: solid- 
browed, stiff, and German. They were walking 
about or standing to chat with acquaintances; 
and Gwendolen was much observed by the seated 

"A striking girl — that Miss Harleth — unlike 

" Yes ; she has got herself up as a sort of serpent 
now, all green and silver, and winds her neck 
about a little more than usual." 

" Oh, she must always be doing something ex- 
traordinary. She is that kind of girl, I fancy. 
Do you think her pretty, Mr Vandernoodt ? " 

" Very. A man might risk hanging for her — 
I mean, a fool might." 

" You like a nez retrousse then, and long narrow 

" When they go with such an ensemble." 

" The ensemble du serpent ? " 

"If you will. Woman was tempted by a 
serpent: why not man?" 

" She is certainly very graceful. But she wants 
a tinge of colour in her cheeks : it is a sort of 
Lamia beauty she has." 


" On the contrary, I think her complexion one of 
her chief charms. It is a warm paleness : it looks 
thoroughly healthy. And that delicate nose with 
its gradual little upward curve is distracting. And 
then her mouth — there never was a prettier mouth, 
the lips curl backward so finely, eh, Mackworth ? " 

"Think so? I cannot endure that sort of 
mouth. It looks so self-complacent, as if it knew 
its own beauty — the curves are too immovable. 
I like a mouth that trembles more." 

"For my part I think her odious," said a 
dowager. " It is wonderful what unpleasant girls 
get into vogue. Who are these Langens ? Does 
anybody know them ? " 

" They are quite comme il faut I have dined 
with them several times at the Bussie. The 
baroness is English. Miss Harleth calls her 
cousin. The girl herself is thoroughly well-bred, 
and as clever as possible." 

" Dear me ! And the baron ? " 

"A very good furniture picture." 

" Your baroness is always at the roulette-table," 
said Mackworth. "I fancy she has taught the 
girl to gamble." 

" Oh, the old woman plays a very sober game ; 
drops a ten-franc piece here and there. The girl 
is more headlong. But it is only a freak." 


" I hear she has lost all her winnings to-day. 
Are they rich ? Who knows ? " 

"Ah, who knows? Who knows that about 
anybody?" said Mr Vandernoodt, moving off to 
join the Langens. 

The remark that Gwendolen wound her neck 
about more than usual this evening was true. 
But it was not that she might carry out the 
serpent idea more completely : it was that she 
watched for any chance of seeing Deronda, so 
that she might inquire about this stranger, under 
whose measuring gaze she was still wincing. At 
last her opportunity came. 

" Mr Vandernoodt, you know everybody," said 
Gwendolen, not too eagerly, rather with a certain 
languor of utterance which she sometimes gave to 
her clear soprano. " Who is that near the door ?" 

" There are half a dozen near the door. Do you 
mean that old Adonis in the George the Fourth 

"No, no; the dark-haired young man on the 
right with the dreadful expression." 

"Dreadful, do you call it? I think he is an 
uncommonly fine fellow," 

''But who is he?" 

" He is lately come to our hotel with Sir Hugo 


"Sir Hugo Mallinger?" 

" Yes. Do you know him ? " 

" No/' (Gwendolen coloured slightly.) " He 
has a place near us, but he never comes to it. 
What did you say was the name of that gentle- 
man near the door ? " 

" Deronda — Mr Deronda." 

" What a delightful name ! Is he an English- 
man ? " 

" Yes. He is reported to be rather closely re- 
lated to the Baronet. You are interested in 

"Yes. I think he is not like young men in 

"And you don't admire young men in general?" 

" Not in the least. I always know what they 
will say. I can't at all guess what this Mr 
Deronda would say. What does he say ? " 

" Nothing, chiefly. I sat with his party for a 
good hour last night on the terrace, and he never 
spoke — and was not smoking either. He looked 

"Another reason why I should like to know 
him. I am always bored." 

" I should think he would be charmed to have 
an introduction.' Shall I bring it about? Will 
you allow it, Baroness ? " 


"Why not? — since he is related to Sir Hugo 
Mallinger. It is a new rdle of yours, Gwendolen, 
to be always bored," continued Madame von 
Langen, when Mr Vandernoodt had moved away. 
" Until now you have always seemed eager about 
something from morning till night." 

" That is j ust because I am bored to death. If 
I am to leave off play I must break my arm or 
my collar-bone. I must make something happen ; 
unless you will go into Switzerland and take me 
up the Matterhorn." 

" Perhaps this Mr Deronda's acquaintance will 
do instead of the Matterhorn." 

" Perhaps." 

But Gwendolen did not make Deronda's ac- 
quaintance on this occasion. Mr Vandernoodt 
did not succeed in bringing him up to her that 
evening, and when she re-entered her own room 
she found a letter recalling her home. 




This man contrives a secret 'twixt us two, 
That he may quell me with his meeting eyes 
Like one who quells a lioness at bay. 

This was the letter Gwendolen found on her 
table : — 

Deaeest Child, — I have been expecting to 
hear from you for a week. In your last you said 
the Langens thought of going to Baden. How 
could you be so thoughtless as to leave me in 
uncertainty about your address? I am in the 
greatest anxiety lest this should not reach you. 
In any case you were to come home at the end of 
September, and I must now entreat you to return 
as quickly as possible, for if you spent all your 
money it would be out of my power to send you 
any more, and you must not borrow of the Langens, 
for I could not repay them. This is the sad 
truth, my child — I wish I could prepare you for 


it better — but a dreadful calamity has befallen us 
all. You know nothing about business and will 
not understand it; but Grapnell and Co. have 
failed for a million and we' are totally ruined — 
your aunt Gascoigne as well as I, only that your 
uncle has his benefice, so that by putting down 
their carriage and getting interest for the boys, 
the family can go on. All the property our poor 
father saved for us goes to pay the liabilities. 
There is nothing I can call my own. It is better 
you should know this at once, though it rends my 
heart to have to tell it you. Of course we can- 
not help thinking what a pity it was that you 
went away just when you did. But I shall never 
reproach you, my dear child; I would save you 
from all trouble if I could. On your way home 
you will have time to prepare yourself for the 
change you will find. We shall perhaps leave 
Offendene at once, for we hope that Mr Haynes, 
who wanted it before, may be ready to take it off 
my hands. Of course we cannot go to the Rec- 
tory — there is not a corner there to spare. We 
must get some hut or other to shelter us, and we 
must live on your uncle Gascoigne's charity, until 
I see what else can be done. I shall not be able 
to pay the debts to the tradesmen besides the 
servants' wages. Summon up your fortitude, my 


dear child, we must resign ourselves to God's will. 
But it is hard to resign one's self to Mr Lassman's 
wicked recklessness, which they say was the cause 
of the failure. Your poor sisters can only cry 
with me and give me no help. If you were once 
here, there might be a break in the cloud. I al- 
ways feel it impossible that you can have been 
meant for poverty. If the Langens wish to remain 
abroad perhaps you can put yourself under some 
one else's care for the journey. But come as soon 
as you can to your afflicted and loving mamma, 

Fanny Davilow. 

The first effect of this letter on Gwendolen was 
half- stupefying. The implicit confidence that hei 
destiny must be one of luxurious ease, where any 
trouble that occurred would be well clad and pro- 
vided for, had been stronger in her own mind than 
in her mamma's, being fed there by her youthful 
blood and that sense of superior claims which 
made a large part of her consciousness. It was 
alm'ost as difficult for hfer to believe suddenly that 
her position had become one of poverty and 
humiliating dependence, as it would have been 
to get into the strong current of her blooming life 
the chill sense that her death would really come. 
She stood motionless for a few minutes, then 


tossed off her hat and automatically looked in the 
glass. The coils of her smooth light-brown hair 
were still in order perfect enough for a ball-room ; 
and as on other nights, Gwendolen might have 
looked lingeringly at herself for pleasure (surely 
an allowable indulgence) ; but now she took no 
conscious note of her reflected beauty, and simply 
stared right before her as if she had been jarred 
by a hateful sound and was waiting for any sign 
of its cause. By-and-by she threw herself in the 
corner of the red velvet sofa, took up the letter 
again and read it twice deliberately, letting it at 
last fall on the ground, while she rested her clasped 
hands on her lap and sat perfectly still, shedding 
no tears. Her impulse was to survey and resist 
the situation rather than to wail over it. There 
was no inward exclamation of "Poor mamma!" 
Her mamma had never seemed to get much en- 
joyment out of life, and if Gwendolen had been 
at this moment disposed to feel pity she would 
have bestowed it on herself — for was she not 
naturally and rightfully the chief object of her 
mamma's anxiety too ? But it was anger, it was 
resistance that possessed her ; it was bitter vexa- 
tion that she had lost her gains at roulette, whereas 
if her luck had continued through this one day 
she would have had a handsome sum to carry 


home, or she might have gone on playing and won 
enough to support them all. Even now was it not 
possible? She had only four napoleons left in 
her purse, but she possessed some ornaments which 
she could pawn : a practice so common in stylish 
society at German baths that there was no need 
to be ashamed of it ; and even if she had not re- 
ceived her mamma's letter, she would probably 
have decided to raise money on an Etruscan neck- 
lace which she happened not to have been wear- 
ing since her arrival ; nay, she might have done so 
with an agreeable sense that she was living with 
some intensity and escaping humdrum. With 
ten louis at her disposal and a return of her 
former luck, which seemed probable, what could 
she do better than go on playing for a few days ? 
If her friends at home disapproved of the way in 
which she got the money, as they certainly would, 
still the money would be there. Gwendolen's 
imagination dwelt on this course and created 
agreeable consequences, but not with unbroken 
confidence and rising certainty as it would have 
done if she had been touched with the gambler's 
mania. She had gone to the roulette-table not 
because of passion, but in search of it : her mind 
was still sanely capable of picturing balanced 
probabilities, and while the chance of winning 


allured her, the chance of losing thrust itself on 
her with alternate strength and made a vision from 
which her pride shrank sensitively. For she was 
resolved not to tell the Langens that any misfor- 
tune had befallen her family, or to make herself 
in any way indebted to their compassion; and if 
she were to pawn her jewellery to any observable 
extent, they would interfere by inquiries and 
remonstrances. The course that held the least 
risk of intolerable annoyance was to raise money 
on her necklace early. in the morning, tell the 
Langens that her mamma desired her immediate 
return without giving a reason, and take the train 
for Brussels that evening. She had no maid with 
her, and the Langens might make difi&culties about 
her returning alone, but her will was peremptory. 
Instead of going to bed she made as brilliant a 
light as she could and began to pack, working dili- 
gently, though all the while visited by the scenes 
that might take place on the coming day — now by 
the tiresome explanations and farewells, and the 
whirling journey towards a changed home, now by 
the alternative of staying just another day and 
standing again at the roulette-table. But always 
in this latter scene there was the presence of that 
Deronda, watching her with exasperating irony, 
and — the two keen experiences were inevitably re- 


vived together — beholding her again forsaken by 
luck. This importunate image certainly helped to 
sway her resolve on the side of immediate depar- 
ture, and to urge her packing to the point which 
would make a change of mind inconvenient. It 
had struck twelve when she came into her room, 
and by the time she was assuring herself that she 
had left out only what was necessary, the faint 
dawn was stealing through the white blinds and 
dulling her candles. What was the use of going 
to bed ? Her cold bath was refreshment enough, 
and she saw that a slight trace of fatigue about the 
eyes only made her look the more interesting. 
Before six o'clock she was completely equipped in 
her grey travelling dress even to her felt hat, for 
she meant to walk out as soon as she could count 
on seeing other ladies on their way to the springs. 
And happening to be seated sideways before the 
long strip of mirror between her two windows she 
turned to look at herself, leaning her elbow on the 
back of the chair in an attitude that might have 
been chosen for her portrait. It is possible to have 
a strong self-love without any self-satisfaction, 
rather with a self- discontent which is the more 
intense because one's own little core of egoistic 
sensibility is a supreme care; but Gwendolen 
knew nothing of such inward strife. She had a 


nmve delight in her fortunate self, which any but 
the harshest saintliness will have some indulgence 
for in a girl who had every day seen a pleasant 
reflection of that self in her friends' flattery as well 
as in the looking-glass. And even in this begin- 
ning of troubles, while for lack of anything else to 
do she sat gazing at her image in the growing 
light, her face gathered a complacency gradual as. 
the cheerfulness of the morning. Her beautiful 
lips curled into a more and more decided smile, 
till at last she took off her hat, leaned forward and 
kissed the cold glass which had looked so warm. 
How could she believe in sorrow ? If it attacked 
her, she felt the force to crush it, to defy it, or run 
away from it, as she had done already. Anything 
seemed more possible than that she could go on 
bearing miseries, great or small. 

Madame von Langen never went out before 
breakfast, so that Gwendolen could safely end her 
early walk by taking her way homeward through 
the Obere Strasse in which was the needed shop, 
sure to be open after seven. At that hour any 
observers whom she minded would be either on 
their walks in the region of the springs, or would 
be still in their bedrooms ; but certainly there was 
one grand hotel, the Czarina, from which eyes 
might follow her up to Mr Wiener's door. This 


was a chance to be risked : miglit she not be going 
in to buy something which had struck her fancy ? 
This implicit falsehood passed through her mind 
as she remembered that the Czarina was Deronda's 
hotel ; but she was then already far up the Obere 
Strasse, and she walked on with her usual floating 
movement, every line in her figure and drapery 
falling in gentle curves attractive to all eyes ex- 
cept those which discerned in them too close a 
resemblance to the serpent, and objected to the 
revival of serpent-worship. She looked neither to 
the right hand nor to the left, and transacted her 
business in the shop with a coolness which gave 
little Mr Wiener nothing to remark except her 
proud grace of manner, and the superior size and 
quality of the three central turquoises in the neck- 
lace she offered him. They had belonged to a 
chain once her father's ; but she had never known 
her father ; and the necklace was in all respects the 
ornament she could most conveniently part with. 
Who supposes that it is an impossible contradic- 
tion to be superstitious and rationalising at the 
same time ? Eoulette encourages a romantic 
superstition as to the chances of the game, and the 
most prosaic rationalism as to human sentiments 
which stand in the way of raising needful money. 
Gwendolen's dominant regret was that after all 


she had only nine louis to add to the four in her 
purse : these Jew pawnbrokers were so unscru- 
pulous in taking advantage of Christians unfortu- 
nate at play ! But she was the Langens' guest in 
their hired apartment, and had nothing to pay 
there : thirteen louis would do more than take her 
home ; even if she determined on risking three, the 
remaining ten would more than suffice, since she 
meant to travel right on, day and night. As she 
turned homewards, nay entered and seated herself 
in the salon to await her friends and breakfast, 
she still wavered as to her immediate departure, 
or rather she had concluded to tell the Langens 
simply that she had had a letter from her mamma 
desiring her return, and to leave it still undecided 
when she should start. It was already the usual 
breakfast time, and hearing some one enter as she 
was leaning back rather tired and hungry with 
her eyes shut, she rose expecting to see one or other 
of the Langens — the words which might determine 
her lingering at least another day, ready-formed 
to pass her lips. But it was the servant bringing 
in a small packet for Miss Harleth, which had 
that moment been left at the door. Gwendolen 
took it in her hand and immediately hurried into 
her own room. She looked paler and more agitated 
than when she had first read her mamma's letter. 


Something — she never quite knew what — revealed 
to her before she opened the packet that it con- 
tained the necklace she had just parted with. 
Underneath the paper it was wrapt in a cambric 
handkerchief, and within this was a scrap of torn- 
off note-paper, on which was written with a pencil 
in clear but rapid handwriting — " A stranger 
who has found Miss Harleth's necklace returns it 
to her with the hope that she will not again risk the 
loss of it." 

Gwendolen reddened with the vexation of 
wounded pride. A large corner of the handker- 
chief seemed to have been recklessly torn off to 
get rid of a mark ; but she at once believed in the 
first image of " the stranger " that presented itself 
to her mind. It was Deronda ; he must have seen 
her go into the shop ; he must have gone in im- 
mediately after, and redeemed the necklace. He 
had taken an unpardonable liberty, and had dared 
to place her in a thoroughly hateful position. What 
could she do ? — Not, assuredly, act on her con- 
viction that it was he who had sent her the neck- 
lace, and straightway send it back to him : that 
would be to face the possibility that she had been 
mistaken ; nay, even if the " stranger " were he 
and no other, it would be something too gross for 
her to let him know that she had divined this, and 


to meet him again with that recognition in their 
minds. He knew very well that he was entangling 
her in helpless humiliation : it was another way of 
smiling at her ironically, and taking the air of a 
supercilious mentor. Gwendolen felt the bitter 
tears of mortification rising and rolling down her 
cheeks. No one had ever before dared to treat her 
with irony and contempt. One thing was clear : 
she must carry out her resolution to quit this place 
at once ; it was impossible for her to reappear in 
the public salon, still less stand at the gaming- 
table with the risk of seeing Deronda. Now came 
an importunate knock at the door : breakfast 
was ready. Gwendolen with a passionate move- 
ment thrust necklace, cambric, scrap of paper and 
all into her n^cessaire, pressed her handkerchief 
against her face, and after pausing a minute or 
two to summon back her proud seK-control, went 
to join her friends. Such signs of tears and fatigue 
as were left seemed accordant enough with the 
account she at once gave of her having been called 
home, for some reason which she feared might be 
a trouble of her mamma's ; and of her having sat 
up to do her packing, instead of waiting for help 
from her friend's maid. There was much pro- 
testation, as she had expected, against her travel- 
ling alone, but she persisted in refusing any 


arrangements for companionship. She would be 
put into the ladies' compartment and go right on. 
She could rest exceedingly well in the train, and 
was afraid of nothing. 

In this way it happened that Gwendolen never 
reappeared at the roulette-table, but set off that 
Thursday evening for Brussels, and on Saturday 
morning arrived at Offendene, the home to which 
she and her family were soon to say a last good- 



" Let no flower of the spring pass by us : let us crown ourselves with rose- 
buds before they be withered. "—Book of Wisdom. 

Pity that Offendene was not the home of Miss 
Harleth's childhood, or endeared to her by family 
memories ! A human life, I think, should be well 
rooted in some spot of a native land, where it may 
get the love of tender kinship for the face of 
earth, for the labours men go forth to, for the 
sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever 
will give that early home a familiar unmistakable 
difference amidst the future widening of know- 
ledge : a spot where the definiteness of early 
memories may be inwrought with affection, and 
kindly acquaintance with all neighbours, even to 
the dogs and donkeys, may spread not by senti- 
mental effort and reflection, but as a sweet habit 
of the blood. At five years old, mortals are not 
prepared to be citizens of the world, to be stimu- 
lated by abstract nouns, to soar above preference 


into impartiality ; and that prejudice in favour 
of milk with which we blindly begin, is a ty])e 
of the way body and soul must get nourished 
at least for a time. The best introduction to 
astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a 
little lot of stars belonging to one's own home- 

But this blessed persistence in which afiection 
can take root had been wanting in Gwendolen's 
life. Offendene had been chosen as her mamma's 
home simply for its nearness to Pennicote Rectory, 
and it was only the year before that Mrs Davilow, 
Gwendolen, and her four half-sisters (the governesb 
and the maid following in another vehicle) had 
been driven along the avenue for the first time on 
a late October afternoon when the rooks were 
cawing loudly above them, and the yellow elm- 
leaves were whirling. 

The season suited the aspect of the old oblong 
red-brick house, rather too anxiously ornamented 
with stone at every line, not excepting the double 
row of narrow windows and the large square 
portico. The stone encouraged a greenish lichen, 
the brick a powdery grey, so that though the 
building was rigidly rectangular there was no 
harshness in the physiognomy which it turned to 
the three avenues cut east, west, and south in the 


hundred yards' breadth of old plantation encircling 
the immediate grounds. One would have liked 
the house to have been lifted on a knoll, so as to 
look beyond its own little domain to the long 
thatched roofs of the distant villages, the church 
towers, the scattered homesteads, the gradual rise 
of surging woods, and the green breadths of undu- 
lating park which made the beautiful face of the 
earth in that part of Wessex. But though stand- 
ing thus behind a screen amid flat pastures, it had 
on one side a glimpse of the wider world in the 
lofty curves of the chalk downs, grand steadfast 
forms played over by the changing days. 

The house was but just large enough to be called 
a mansion, and was moderately rented, having no 
manor attached to it, and being rather difficult to 
let with its sombre furniture and faded upholstery. 
But inside and outside it was what no beholder 
could suppose to be inhabited by retired trades- 
people : a certainty which was worth many con- 
veniences to tenants who not only had the taste 
that shrinks from new finery, but also were in that 
border-territory of rank where annexation is a 
burning topic ; and to take up her abode in a house 
which had once sufi&ced for dowager countesses 
gave a perceptible tinge to Mrs Davilow's satisfac- 
tion in having an establishment of her own. This, 



rather mysteriously to Gwendolen, appeared sud- 
denly possible on the death of her step -father 
Captain Davilow, who had for the last nine years 
joined his family only in a brief and fitful manner, 
enough to reconcile them to his long absences; 
but she cared much more for the fact than for the 
explanation. All her prospects had become more 
agreeable in consequence. She had disliked their 
former way of life, roving from one foreign water- 
ing-place or Parisian apartment to another, always 
feeling new antipathies to new suites of hired 
furniture, and meeting new people under con- 
ditions which made her appear of little import- 
ance ; and the variation of having passed two 
years at a showy school, where on all occasions 
of display she had been put foremost, had only 
deepened her sense that so exceptional a person 
as herself could hardly remain in ordinary circum- 
stances or in a social position less than advanta- 
geous. Any fear of this latter evil was banished 
now that her mamma was to have an establish- 
ment ; for on the point of birth Gwendolen was 
quite easy. She had no notion how her maternal 
grandfather got the fortune inherited by his two 
daughters; but he had been a West Indian — which 
seemed to exclude further question ; and she knew 
that her father's family was so high as to take no 


notice of her mamma, who nevertheless preserved 
with much pride the miniature of a Lady Molly 
in that connection. She would probably have 
known much more about her father but for a little 
incident which happened when she was twelve 
years old. Mrs Davilow had brought out, as she 
did only at wide intervals, various memorials of 
her first husband, and while showing his miniature 
to Gwendolen recalled with a fervour which seemed 
to count on a peculiar filial sympathy, the fact 
that dear papa had died when his little daughter 
was in long clothes. Gwendolen, immediately 
thinking of the unlovable step-father whom she 
had been acquainted with the greater part of her 
life while her frocks were short, said — 

"Why did you marry again, mamma? It 
would have been nicer if you had not." 

Mrs Davilow coloured deeply, a slight convul- 
sive movement passed over her face, and straight- 
way shutting up the memorials she said with a 
violence quite unusual in her — 

"You have no feeling, child !" 

Gwendolen, who was fond of her mamma, felt 
hurt and ashamed, and had never since dared to 
ask a question about her father. 

This was not the only instance in which she 
had brought on herseK the pain of some filial 


compunction. It was always arranged, when 
possible, that she should have a small bed in her 
mamma's room; for Mrs Davilow's motherly- 
tenderness clung chiefly to her eldest girl, who 
had been born in her happier time. One night 
under an attack of pain she found that the specific 
regularly placed by her bedside had been forgot- 
ten, and begged Gwendolen to get out of bed and 
reach it for her. That healthy young lady, snug 
and warm as a rosy infant in her little couch, 
objected to step out into the cold, and lying per- 
fectly still, grumbled a refusal. Mrs Davilow 
went without the medicine and never reproached 
her daughter ; but the next day Gwendolen was 
keenly conscious of what must be in her mamma's 
mind, and tried to make amends by caresses which 
cost her no effort. Having always been the pet 
and pride of the household, waited on by mother, 
sisters, governess, and maids, as if she had been a 
princess in exile, she naturally found it difficult 
to think her own pleasure less important than 
others made it, and when it was positively thwarted 
felt an astonished resentment apt, in her cruder 
days, to vent itself in one of those passionate acts 
which look like a contradiction of habitual ten- 
dencies. Though never even as a child thought- 
lessly cruel, nay, delighting to rescue drowning 


insects and watch their recovery, there was a 
disagreeable silent remembrance of her having 
strangled her sister's canary-bird in a final fit of 
exasperation at its shrill singing which had again 
and again jarringly interrupted her own. She had 
taken pains to buy a white mouse for her sister 
in retribution, and though inwardly excusing her- 
self on the ground of a peculiar sensitiveness 
which was a mark of her general superiority, the 
thought of that infelonious murder had always 
made her wince. Gwendolen's nature was not 
remorseless, but she liked to make her penances 
easy, and now that she was twenty and more, 
some of her native force had turned into a self- 
control by which she guarded herself from peni- 
tential humiliation. There was more show of fire 
and will in her than ever, but there was more 
calculation underneath it. 

On this day of arrival at OfPendene, which not 
even Mrs Davilow had seen before — the place 
having been taken for her by her brother-in-law 
Mr Gascoigne — when all had got down from the 
carriage, and were standing under the porch in 
front of the open door, so that they could have 
both a general view of the place and a glimpse of 
the stone hall and staircase hung with sombre 
pictures, but enlivened by a bright wood fire, 


no one spoke : mamma, the four sisters, and the 
governess all looked at Gwendolen, as if their feel- 
ings depended entirely on her decision. Of the 
girls, from Alice in her sixteenth year to Isabel 
in her tenth, hardly anything could be said on a 
first view, but that they were girlish, and that 
their black dresses were getting shabby. Miss 
Merry was elderly and altogether neutral in ex- 
pression. Mrs Davilow's worn beauty seemed the 
more pathetic for the look of entire appeal which 
she cast at Gwendolen, who was glancing round 
at the house, the landscape, and the entrance 
hall with an air of rapid judgment. Imagine a 
young race-horse in the paddock among un- 
trimmed ponies and patient hacks. 

" Well, dear, what do you think of the place ?" 
said Mrs Davilow at last, in a gentle deprecatory 

" I think it is charming," said Gwendolen, 
quickly. "A romantic place; anything delightful 
may happen in it ; it would be a good background 
for anything. No one need be ashamed of living 

" There is certainly nothing common about it." 

" Oh, it would do for fallen royalty or any sort 
of grand poverty. We ought properly to have 
been living in splendour, and have come down to 


this. It would have been as romantic as could 
be. But I thought my uncle and aunt Gascoigne 
would be here to meet us, and my cousin Anna," 
added Gwendolen, her tone changed to sharp 

" We are early," said Mrs Davilow, and entering 
the hall, she said to the housekeeper who came 
forward, " You expect Mr and Mrs Gascoigne ? " 

" Yes, madam : they were here yesterday to give 
particular orders about the fires and the dinner. 
But as to fires, IVe had 'em in all the rooms for 
the last week, and everything is well aired. I 
could wish some of the furniture paid better for 
all the cleaning it's had, but I think you'll see the 
brasses have been done justice to. I think when 
Mr and Mrs Gascoigne come, they'll tell you 
nothing's been neglected. They'll be here at five, 
for certain." 

This satisfied Gwendolen, who was not prepared 
to have their arrival treated with indifference; and 
after tripping a little way up the matted stone 
staircase to take a survey there, she tripped down 
again, and followed by all the girls looked into each 
of the rooms opening from the hall — the dining- 
room all dark oak and worn red satin damask, 
with a copy of snarling, worrying dogs from 
Snyders over the sideboard, and a Christ breaking 


bread over the mantelpiece ; the library with a 
general aspect and smell of old brown leather; 
and lastly, the drawing-room, which was entered 
through a small antechamber crowded with 
venerable knick-knacks. 

" Mamma, mamma, pray come here ! " said 
Gwendolen, Mrs Davilow having followed slowly 
in talk with the housekeeper. " Here is an organ. 
I will be Saint Cecilia ; some one shall paint me 
as Saint Cecilia. Jocosa (this was her name for 
Miss Merry), let down my hair. See, mamma ! " 

She had thrown off her hat and gloves, and 
seated herself before the organ in an admirable 
pose, looking upward ; while the submissive and 
sad Jocosa took out the one comb which fastened 
the coil of hair, and then shook out the mass till 
it fell in a smooth light-brown stream far below 
its owner's slim waist. 

Mrs Davilow smiled and said, "A charming 
picture, my dear!" not indifferent to the display 
of her pet, even in the presence of a housekeeper. 
Gwendolen rose and laughed with delight. All 
this seemed quite to the purpose on entering a 
new house which was so excellent a background. 

" What a queer, quaint, picturesque room !" she 
went on, looking about her. " I like these old em- 
broidered chairs, and the garlands on the wainscot, 


and the pictures that may "be anything. That one 
with the ribs — nothing but ribs and darkness — I 
should think that is Spanish, mamma." 

"Oh Gwendolen!" said the small Isabel, in a 
tone of astonishment, while she held open a 
hinged panel of the wainscot at the other end 
of the room. 

Every one, Gwendolen first, went to look. The 
opened panel had disclosed the picture of an up- 
turned dead face, from which an obscure figure 
seemed to be fleeing with outstretched arms. 
" How horrible !" said Mrs Davilow, with a look of 
mere disgust; but Gwendolen shuddered silently, 
and Isabel, a plain and altogether inconvenient 
child with an alarming memory, said — 

" You will never stay in this room by yourself, 

" How dare you open things which were meant 
to be shut up, you perverse little creature ?" said 
Gwendolen, in her angriest tone. Then snatching 
the panel out of the hand of the culprit, she 
closed it hastily, saying, " There is a lock — where 
is the key ? Let the.key be found, or else let one 
be made, and let nobody open it again ; or rather, 
let the key be brought to me." 

At this command to everybody in general 
Gwendolen turned with a face which was flushed 


in reaction from her chill shudder, and said, " Let 
us go up to our own room, mamma." 

The housekeeper on searching found the key in 
the drawer of a cabinet close by the panel, and 
presently handed it to Bugle, the lady's maid, 
telling her significantly to give it to her Eoyal 

" I don't know who you mean, Mrs Startin," 
said Bugle, who had been busy up-stairs during 
the scene in the drawing-room, and was rather 
offended at this irony in a new servant. 

" I mean the young lady that's to command us 
all — and well worthy for looks and figure," replied 
Mrs Startin in propitiation. " She'll know what 
key it is." 

" If you have laid out what we want, go and 
see to the others, Bugle," Gwendolen had said, 
when she and Mrs Davilow entered their black 
and yellow bedroom, where a pretty little white 
couch was prepared by the side of the black and 
yellow catafalque known as 'the best bed/ "I 
will help mamma." 

But her first movement was to go to the tall 
mirror between the windows, which reflected her- 
self and the room completely, while her mamma 
sat down and also looked at the reflection. 

" That is a becoming glass, Gwendolen; or is it 


the black and gold colour that sets you off?" said 
Mrs Davilow, as Gwendolen stood obliquely with 
her three-quarter face turned towards the mirror, 
and her left hand brushing back the stream of 

" I should make a tolerable Saint Cecilia with 
some white roses on my head," said Gwendolen, 
— " only, how about my nose, mamma 1 I think 
saints' noses never in the least turn up. I wish 
you had given me your perfectly straight nose ; it 
would have done for any sort of character — a nose 
of all work. Mine is only a happy nose; it would 
not do so well for tragedy." 

" Oh, my dear, any nose will do to be miserable 
with in this world," said Mrs Davilow, with a 
deep, weary sigh, throwing her black bonnet on 
the table, and resting her elbow near it. 

" Now, mamma ! " said Gwendolen in a strongly 
remonstrant tone, turning away from the glass 
with an air of vexation, " don't begin to be dull 
here. It spoils all my pleasure, and everything 
may be so happy now. What have you to be 
gloomy about now ? " 

" Nothing, dear," said Mrs Davilow, seeming to 
rouse herself, and beginning to take off her dress. 
" It is always enough for me to see you happy." 

" But you should be happy yourself," said 


Gwendolen, still discontentedly, though going to 
help her mamma with caressing touches. " Can 
nohody be happy after they are quite young? 
You have made me feel sometimes as if nothing 
were of any use. With the girls so troublesome, 
and Jocosa so dreadfully wooden and ugly, and 
everything make-shift about us, and you looking 
so dull — what was the use of my being anything ? 
But now you might be happy." 

" So I shall, dear," said Mrs Davilow^, patting the 
cheek that was bending near her. 

"Yes, but really. Not with a sort of make- 
believe," said Gwendolen with resolute persever- 
ance. " See what a hand and arm ! — much more 
beautiful than mine. Any one can see you were 
altogether more beautiful." 

" jtTo, no, dear. I was always heavier. Never 
half so charming as you are." 

" Well, but what is the use of my being charm- 
ing, if it is to end in my being dull and not 
minding anything ? Is that what marriage always 
comes to ? " 

" No, child, certainly not. Marriage is the only 
happy state for a woman, as I trust you will 

" I will not put up with it if it is not a happy 
state. I am determined to be happy — at least not 


to go on muddling away my life as other people 

do, being and doing nothing remarkable. I have 

made np my mind not to let other people interfere 

with me as they have done. Here is some warm 

water ready for you, mamma," Gwendolen ended, 

proceeding to take off her own dress and then 

waiting to have her hair wound up by her mamma. 

There was silence for a minute or two, till Mrs 

Davilow said, while coiling the daughter's hair, 

" I am sure I have never crossed you, Gwendolen." 

" You often want me to do what T don't like." 

" You mean, to give Alice lessons ? " 

" Yes. And I have done it because you asked 

me. But I don't see why I should, else. It bores 

me to death, she is so slow. She has no ear for 

music, or language, or anything else. It would 

be much better for her to be ignorant, mamma : 

it is her rSle, she would do it well." 

" That is a hard thing to say of your poor sister, 
Gwendolen, who is so good to you, and waits on 
you hand and foot." 

" I don't see why it is hard to call things by 
their right names and put them in their proper 
places. The hardship is for me to have to waste 
my time on her. Now let me fasten up your hair, 

" We must make haste. Your uncle and aunt 


will be here soon. For heaven's sake, don't be 
scornful to them, my dear child, or to your cousin 
Anna, whom you will always be going out with. 
Do promise me, Gwendolen. You know, you 
can't expect Anna to be equal to you.'' 

" I don't want her to be equal," said Gwendolen, 
with a toss of her head and a smile, and the dis- 
cussion ended there. 

When Mr and Mrs Gascoigne and their daugh- 
ter came, Gwendolen, far from being scornful, 
behaved as prettily as possible to them. She was 
introducing herself anew to relatives who had not 
seen her since the comparatively unfinished age 
of sixteen, and she was anxious — no, not anxious, 
but resolved that they should admire her. 

Mrs Gascoigne bore a family likeness to her 
sister. But she was darker and slighter, her face 
was unworn by grief, her movements were less 
languid, her expression more alert and critical as 
that of a rector's wife bound to exert a beneficent 
authority. Their closest resemblance lay in a 
non-resistant disposition, inclined to imitation 
and obedience ; but this, owing to the difierence 
in their circumstances, had led them to very dif- 
ferent issues. The younger sister had been indis- 
creet, or at least unfortunate in her marriages ; 
the elder believed herself the most enviable of 


wives, and her pliancy had ended in her some- 
times taking shapes of surprising definiteness. 
Many of her opinions, such as those on church 
government and the character of Archbishop Laud, 
seemed too decided under every alteration to have 
been arrived at otherwise than by a wifely recep- 
tiveness. And there was much to encourage 
trust in her husband's authority. He had some 
agreeable virtues, some striking advantages, and 
the failings that were imputed to him all leaned 
toward the side of success. 

One of his advantages was a fine person, which 
perhaps was even more impressive at fifty-seven 
than it had been earlier in life. There were no 
distinctively clerical lines in the face, no official 
reserve or ostentatious benignity of expression, 
no tricks of starchiness or of affected ease : in his 
Inverness cape he could not have been identified 
except as a gentleman with handsome dark feat- 
ures, a nose which began with an intention to be 
aquiline but suddenly became straight, and iron- 
grey hair. Perhaps he owed this freedom from 
the sort of professional make-up which penetrates 
skin tones and gestures and defies all drapery, to 
the fact that he had once been Captain Gaskin, 
having taken orders and a diphthong but shortly 
before his engagement to Miss Armyn. If any 


one had objected that his preparation for the 
clerical function was inadequate, his friends might 
have asked who made a better figure in it, who 
preached better or had more authority in his 
parish ? He had a native gift for administration, 
being tolerant both of opinions and conduct, be- 
cause he felt himself able to overrule them, and 
was free from the irritations of conscious feeble- 
ness. He smiled pleasantly at the foible of a 
taste which he did not share — at floriculture or 
antiquarianism for example, which were much in 
vogue among his fellow-clergymen in the diocese : 
for himself, he preferred following the history of 
a campaign, or divining from his knowledge of 
Nesselrode's motives what would have been his 
conduct if our cabinet had taken a different 
course. Mr Gascoigne's tone of thinking after 
some long-quieted fluctuations had become eccle- 
siastical rather than theological ; not the modern 
Anglican, but what he would have called sound 
English, free from nonsense : such as became a 
man who looked at a national religion by day- 
light, and saw it in its relations to other things. 
No clerical magistrate had greater weight at 
sessions, or less of mischievous impracticableness 
in relation to worldly affairs. Indeed, the worst 
imputation thrown out against him was worldli- 


ness : it could not be proved that he forsook the 
less fortunate, but it was not to be denied that 
the friendships he cultivated were of a kind 
likely to be useful to the father of six sons and 
two daughters ; and bitter observers — for in 
Wessex, say ten years ago, there were persons 
whose bitterness may now seem incredible — re- 
marked that the colour of his opinions had 
changed in consistency with this principle of 
action. But cheerful, successful worldliness has 
a false air of being more selfish than the acrid, 
unsuccessful kind, whose secret history is summed 
up in the terrible words, " Sold, but not paid for." 

Gwendolen wondered that she had not better 
remembered how very fine a man her uncle was ; 
but at the age of sixteen she was a less capable and 
more indifferent judge. At present it was a mat- 
ter of extreme interest to her that she was to have 
the near countenance of a dignified male relative, 
and that the family life would cease to be entirely, 
insipidly feminine. She did not intend that her 
uncle should control her, but she saw at once that 
it would be altogether agreeable to her that he 
should be proud of introducing her as his niece. 
And there was every sign of his being likely to 
feel that pride. He certainly looked at her with 
admiration as he said — 

VOL. I. D 


"You have outgrown Anna, my dear," putting 
his arm tenderly round his daughter, whose shy 
face was a tiny copy of his own, and drawing her 
forward. "She is not so old as you by a year, 
but her growing days are certainly over. I hope 
you will be excellent companions." 

He did give a comparing glance at his daugh- 
ter, but if he saw her inferiority he might also 
see that Anna's timid appearance and miniature 
figure must appeal to a different taste from that 
which was attracted by Gwendolen, and that the 
girls could hardly be rivals. Gwendolen, at least, 
was aware of this, and kissed her cousin with real 
cordiality as well as grace, saying, " A companion 
is just what I want. I am so glad we are come 
to live here. And mamma will be much happier 
now she is near you, aunt." 

The aunt trusted indeed that it would be so, 
and felt it a blessing that a suitable home had 
been vacant in their uncle's parish. Then, of 
course, notice had to be taken of the four other 
girls whom Gwendolen had always felt to be 
superfluous : all of a girlish average that made 
four units utterly unimportant, and yet from her 
earliest days an obtrusive influential fact in her 
life. She was conscious of having been much 
kinder to them than could have been expected. 


And it was evident to her that her uncle and aunt 
also felt it a pity there were so many girls : — what 
rational person could feel otherwise, except poor 
mamma, who never would see how Alice set up 
her shoulders and lifted her eyebrows till she 
had no forehead left, how Bertha and Fanny 
whispered and tittered together about everything, 
or how Isabel was always listening and staring 
and forgetting where she was, and treading on the 
toes of her suffering elders. 

"You have brothers, Anna," said Gwendolen, 
while the sisters were being noticed. " I think 
you are enviable there." 

" Yes," said Anna, simply, " I am very fond of 
them. But of course their education is a great 
anxiety to papa. He used to say they made me 
a tomboy. I really was a great romp with Eex. 
I think you will like Eex. He will come home 
before Christmas." 

" I remember I used to think you rather wild 
and shy. But it is difficult now to imagine you 
a romp," said Gwendolen, smiling. 

" Of course I am altered now ; I am come out, 
and all that. But in reality I like to go black- 
berrying with Edwy and Lotta as well as ever. 
I am not very fond of going out ; but I daresay I 
shall like it better now you will be often with 


me. I am not at all clever, and I never know 
what to say. It seems so useless to say what 
everybody knows, and I can think of nothing else, 
except what papa says." 

" I shall like going out with you very much," 
said Gwendolen, well disposed towards this nawe 
cousin. " Are you fond of riding ? " 

"Yes, but we have only one Shetland pony 
amongst us. Papa says he can't afford more, 
besides the carriage-horses and his own nag. He 
has so many expenses." 

" I intend to have a horse and ride a great deal 
now," said Gwendolen, in a tone of decision. " Is 
the society pleasant in this neighbourhood ? " 

" Papa says it is, very. There are the clergymen 
all about, you know ; and the Quallons and the 
Arrowpoints, and Lord Brackenshaw, and Sir Hugo 
Mallinger's place where there is nobody — that's 
very nice, because we make picnics there — and 
two or three families at Wancester ; oh, and old 
Mrs Vulcany at Nuttingwood, and " 

But Anna was relieved of this tax on her de- 
scriptive powers by the announcement of dinner, 
and Gwendolen's question was soon indirectly 
answered by her uncle, who dwelt much on the 
advantages he had secured for them in getting a 
place like Offendene. Except the rent, it involved 


no more expense than an ordinary house at Wan- 
cester would have done. 

" And it is always worth while to make a little 
sacrifice for a good style of house," said Mr 
Gascoigne, in his easy, pleasantly confident tone, 
which made the world in general seem a very 
manageable place of residence. "Especially 
where there is only a lady at the head. All the 
best people will call upon you ; and you need 
give no expensive dinners. Of course I have to 
spend a good deal in that way ; it is a large item. 
But then I get my house for nothing. If I had 
to pay three hundred a-year for my house I could 
not keep a table. My boys are too great a drain 
on me. You are better ofi" than we are, in pro- 
portion ; there is no great drain on you now, after 
your house and carriage." 

" I assure you, Fanny, now the children are 
growing up, I am obliged to cut and contrive," 
said Mrs Gascoigne. " I am not a good manager 
by nature, but Henry has taught me. He is 
wonderful for making the best of everything ; he 
allows himself no extras, and gets his curates for 
nothing. It is rather hard that he has not been 
made a prebendary or something, as others have 
been, considering the friends he has made, and the 
need there is for men of moderate opinions in aU 


respects. If the Church is to keep its position, 
ability and character ought to tell." 

" Oh, my dear Nancy, you forget the old story — 
thank Heaven, there are three hundred as good 
as I. And ultimately we shall have no reason to 
complain, I am pretty sure. There could hardly 
be a more thorough friend than Lord Brackenshaw, 
your landlord, you know, Fanny. Lady Bracken- 
shaw will call upon you. And I have spoken for 
Gwendolen to be a member of our Archery Club 
— the Brackenshaw Archery Club — the most 
select thing anywhere. That is, if she has no 
objection," added Mr Gascoigne, looking at Gwen- 
dolen with pleasant irony. 

" I should like it of all things," said Gwendolen. 
" There is nothing I enjoy more than taking aim 
— and hitting," she ended, with a pretty nod and 

" Our Anna, poor child, is too short-sighted for 
archery. But I consider myself a first-rate shot, 
and you shall practise with me. I must make 
you an accomplished archer before our great 
meeting in July. In fact, as to neighbourhood, 
you could hardly be better placed. There are the 
Arrowpoints — they are some of our best people. 
Miss Arrowpoint is a delightful girl: — she has 
been presented at court. They have a magnifi- 


cent place — Quetcham Hall — worth seeing in 
point of art ; and their parties, to which you are 
sure to be invited, are the best things of the sort 
we have. The archdeacon is intimate there, and 
they have always a good kind of people staying in 
the house. Mrs Arrowpoint is peculiar, certainly; 
something of a caricature, in fact ; but well-mean- 
ing. And Miss Arrowpoint is as nice as possible. 
It is not all young ladies who have mothers as 
handsome and graceful as yours and Anna's." 

Mrs Davilow smiled faintly at this little com- 
pliment, but the husband and wife looked affec- 
tionately at each other, and Gwendolen thought, 
" My uncle and aunt, at least, are happy ; they 
are not dull and dismal." Altogether, she felt 
satisfied with her prospects at Offendene, as a 
great improvement on anything she had known. 
Even the cheap curates, she incidentally learned, 
were almost always young men of family, and Mr 
Middleton, the actual curate, was said to be quite 
an acquisition : it was only a pity he was so soon 
to leave. 

But there was one point which she was so 
anxious to gain that she could not allow the even- 
ing to pass without taking her measures towards 
securing it. Her mamma, she knew, intended to 
submit entirely to her uncle's judgment with re- 


gard to expenditure ; and the submission was not 
merely prudential, for Mrs Davilow, conscious 
that she had always been seen under a cloud as 
poor dear Fanny, who had made a sad blunder 
with her second marriage, felt a hearty satisfaction 
in being frankly and cordially identified with her 
sister's family, and in having her affairs canvassed 
and managed with an authority which presupposed 
a genuine interest. Thus the question of a suit- 
able saddle-horse, which had been sufficiently dis- 
cussed with mamma, had to be referred to Mr 
Gascoigne ; and after Gwendolen had played on 
the piano, which had been provided from Wances- 
ter, had sung to her hearers' admiration, and had 
induced her uncle to join her in a duet — what 
more softening influence than this on any uncle 
who would have sung finely if his time had not 
been too much taken up by graver matters ? — she 
seized the opportune moment for saying, "Mamma, 
you have not spoken to my uncle about my 

" Gwendolen desires above all things to have a 
horse to ride — a pretty, light, lady's horse," said 
Mrs Davilow, looking at Mr Gascoigne. " Do you 
think we can manage it ? " 

Mr Gascoigne projected his lower lip and lifted 
his handsome eyebrows sarcastically at Gwen- 


dolen, who had seated herself with much grace 
on the elbow of her mamma's chair. 

" We could lend her the pony sometimes," said 
Mrs Gascoigne, watching her husband's face, and 
feeling quite ready to disapprove if he did. 

" That might be inconveniencing others, aunt, 
and would be no pleasure to me. I cannot endure 
ponies," said Gwendolen. " I would rather give 
up some other indulgence and have a horse." 
(Was there ever a young lady or gentleman not 
ready to give up an unspecified indulgence for 
the sake of the favourite one specified ?) 

" She rides so well. She has had lessons, and 
the riding-master said she had so good a seat and 
hand she might be trusted with any mount," said 
Mrs Davilow, who, even if she had not wished her 
darling to have the horse, would not have dared 
to be lukewarm in trying to get it for her. 

" There is the price of the horse — a good sixty 
with the best chance, and then his keep," said 
Mr Gascoigne, in a tone which, though demurring, 
betrayed the inward presence of something that 
favoured the demand. "There are the carriage- 
horses — already a heavy item. And remember 
what you ladies cost in toilette now." 

" I really wear nothing but two black dresses," 
said Mrs Davilow, hastily. " And the younger 


girls, of course, require no toilette at present. 
Besides, Gwendolen will save me so much by 
giving her sisters lessons." Here Mrs Davilow's 
delicate cheek showed a rapid blush. " If it were 
not for that, I must really have a more expensive 
governess, and masters besides." 

Gwendolen felt some anger with her mamma, 
but carefully concealed it. 

" That is good — that is decidedly good," said 
Mr Gascoigne, heartily, looking at his wife. And 
Gwendolen, who, it must be owned, was a deep 
young lady, suddenly moved away to the other 
end of the long drawing-room, and busied herself 
with arranging pieces of music. 

" The dear child has had no indulgences, no 
pleasures," said Mrs Davilow, in a pleading under- 
tone. " I feel the expense is rather imprudent 
in this first year of our settling. But she really 
needs the exercise — she needs cheering. And if 
you were to see her on horseback, it is something 

"It is what we could not afford for Anna," 
said Mrs Gascoigne. " But she, dear child, would 
ride Lotta's donkey, and think it good enough." 
(Anna was absorbed in a game with Isabel, who 
had hunted out an old backgammon-board, and 
had begged to sit up an extra hour.) 


" Certainly, a fine woman never looks better 
than on horseback," said Mr Gascoigne. "And 
Gwendolen has the figure for it. I don't say the 
thing should not be considered." 

" We might try it for a time, at all events. It 
can be given up, if necessary," said Mrs Davilow. 

" Well, I will consult Lord Brackenshaw's 
head groom. He is my fidus Achates in the 
horsey way." 

" Thanks," said Mrs Davilow, much relieved. 
" You are very kind." 

" That he always is," said Mrs Gascoigne. And 
later that night, when she and her husband were 
in private, she said — 

" I thought you were almost too indulgent 
about the horse for Gwendolen. She ought not 
to claim so much more than your own daughter 
would think of. Especially before we see how 
Fanny manages on her income. And you really 
have enough to do without taking all this trouble 
on yourself." 

" My dear Nancy, one must look at things from 
every point of view. This girl is really worth 
some expense : you don't often see her equal. 
She ought to make a first-rate marriage, and I 
should not be doing my duty if I spared my 
trouble in helping her forward. You know your- 


self she has been under a disadvantage with such 
a father-in-law, and a second family, keeping her 
always in the shade. I feel for the girL And 
I should like your sister and her family now to 
have the benefit of your ha^^ng married rather a 
better specimen of our kind than she did." 

*• £ather better ! I should think so. However, 
it is for me to be gratefol that you will take so 
much on your shoulders for the sake of my sister 
and her children. I am sure I would not grudge 
anything to poor Fanny. But there is one thing 
I have been thinking of, though you -have never 
mentioned it" 

" What is that?" 

" The boys. I hope they will not be falling in 
love with Gwendolen- ** 

"Don't presuppose anything of the kind, my 
dear, and there wiU be no danger. Eex will 
never be at home for long together, and Warham 
is going to India. It is the wiser plan to take it 
for granted that cousins will not fall in love. If 
you begin with precautions, the affair will come 
in spite of them. One must not undertake to 
act for Providence in these matters, which can 
no more be held under the hand than a brood 
of chickens. The boys will have nothing, and 
Gwendolen wiU have nothing. They can't marr}-. 


At the worst there would only be a little crying, 
and you can't save boys and girls from that." 

Mrs Gascoigne's mind was satisfied : if any- 
thing did happen, there was the comfort of feeling 
that her husband would know what was to be 
done, and would have the enei^ to do it 



" Oorgibus.— . . . Je te dis que le manage est une chose sainte et sacrfee, 
et'que c'est faire en honnStes gens, que de d6buter par li. 

" Madelo7i. — Mon Dieu ! que si tout le monde vous ressemblait, un roman 

serait bientot fini I La belle chose que ce serait, si d'abord Cyrus 6pousait 

Mandane, et qu'Aronce de plain-pied flit iaari6 k Clelie I . . . Laissez-nous 

faire k loisir le tissu de notre roman, et n'en pressez pas tantla conclusion." 

— MoLiERE : Les Pr6cieuses Ridicules. 

It would be a little hard to blame the Eector of 
Pennicote that in the course of looking at things 
from every point of view, he looked at Gwendolen 
as a girl likely to make a brilliant marriage. 
Why should he be expected to differ from his 
contemporaries in this matter, and wish his niece 
a worse end of her charming maidenhood than 
they would approve as the best possible ? It is 
rather to be set down to his credit that his feelings 
on the subject were entirely good-natured. And 
in considering the relation of means to ends, it 
would have been mere folly to have been guided 
by the exceptional and idyllic — to have recom- 
mended that Gwendolen should wear a gown as 


shabby as Griselda's in order that a marquis 
might fall in love with her, or to have insisted 
that since a fair maiden was to be sought, she 
should keep herself out of the way. Mr Gas- 
coigne's calculations were of the kind called 
rational, and he did not even think of getting a 
too frisky horse in order that Gwendolen might 
be threatened with an accident and be rescued by 
a man of property. He wished his niece well, 
and he meant her to be seen to advantage in the 
best society of the neighbourhood. 

Her uncle's intention fell in perfectly with 
Gwendolen's own wishes. But let no one suppose 
that she also contemplated a brilliant marriage as 
the direct end of her witching the world with her 
grace on horseback, or with any other accomplish- 
ment. That she was to be married some time or 
other she would have felt obliged to admit ; and 
that her marriage would not be of a middling kind, 
such as most girls were contented with, she felt 
quietly, unargumentatively sure. But her thoughts 
never dwelt on marriage as the fulfilment of her 
ambition ; the dramas in which she imagined her- 
self a heroine were not wrought up to that close. 
To be very much sued or hopelessly sighed for as 
a bride was indeed an indispensable and agree- 
able guarantee of womanly power ; but to become 


a wife and wear all the domestic fetters of that 
condition, was on the whole a vexatious necessity. 
Her observation of matrimony had inclined her to 
think it rather a dreary state, in which a woman 
could not do what she liked, had more children 
than were desirable, was consequently dull, and 
became irrevocably immersed in humdrum. Of 
course marriage was social promotion ; she could 
not look forward to a single life ; but promotions 
have sometimes to be taken with bitter herbs — a 
peerage will not quite do instead of leadership to 
the man who meant to lead; and this delicate- 
limbed sylph of twenty meant to lead. For such 
passions dwell in feminine breasts also. In Gwen- 
dolen's, however, they dwelt among strictly femi- 
nine furniture, and had no disturbing reference to 
the advancement of learning or the balance of the 
constitution ; her knowledge being such as with no 
sort of standing-room or length of lever could have 
been expected to move the world. She meant to 
do what was pleasant to herself in a striking man- 
ner; or rather, whatever she could do so as to 
strike others with admiration and get in that re- 
flected way a more ardent sense of living, seemed 
pleasant to her fancy. 

" Gwendolen will not rest without having the 
world at her feet," said Miss Merry, the meek 


governess : — hyperbolical words which have long 
come to carry the most moderate meanings ; for 
who has not heard of private persons having the 
world at their feet in the shape of some half-dozen 
items of flattering regard generally known in a 
genteel suburb ? And words could hardly be too 
wide or vague to indicate the prospect that made 
a hazy largeness about poor Gwendolen on the 
heights of her young self - exultation. Other 
people allowed themselves to be made slaves of, 
and to have their lives blown hither and thither 
like empty ships in which no will was present : it 
was not to be so with her, she would no longer be 
sacrificed to creatures worth less than herself, but 
would make the very best of the chances that life 
offered her, and conquer circumstance by her ex- 
ceptional cleverness. Certainly, to be settled at 
Offendene, with the notice of Lady Brackenshaw, 
the archery club, and invitations to dine with the 
Arrowpoints, as the highest lights in her scenery, 
was not a position that seemed to offer remark- 
able chances; but Gwendolen's confidence lay 
chiefly in herself. She felt well equipped for the 
mastery of life. With regard to much in her lot 
hitherto, she held herself rather hardly dealt with, 
but as to her " education " she would have ad- 
mitted that it had left her under no disadvantages. 


In the schoolroom her quick mind had taken 
readily that strong starch of unexplained rules 
and disconnected facts which saves ignorance from 
any painful sense of limpness ; and what remained 
of all things knowable, she was conscious of being 
sufficiently acquainted with through novels, plays, 
and poems. About her French and music, the 
two justifying accomplishments of a young lady, 
she felt no ground for uneasiness ; and when to 
all these qualifications, negative and positive, we 
add the spontaneous sense of capability some 
happy persons are born with, so that any subject 
they turn attention to impresses them with their 
own power of forming a correct judgment on it, 
who can wonder if Gwendolen felt ready to manage 
her own destiny? 

There were many subjects in the world — per- 
haps the majority — in which she felt no interest, 
because they were stupid ; for subjects are apt to 
appear stupid to the young as light seems dim to 
the old ; but she would not have felt at all help- 
less in relation to them if they had turned up in 
conversation. It must be remembered that no 
one had disputed her power or her general supe- 
riority. As on the arrival at Offendene, so always, 
the first thought of those about her had been, 
what will Gwendolen think ? — if the footman trod 


heavily in creaking boots or if the laundress's 
work was unsatisfactory, the maid said " This will 
never do for Miss Harleth ; " if the wood smoked 
in the bedroom fireplace, Mrs Davilow, whose own 
weak eyes suffered much from this inconvenience, 
spoke apologetically of it to Gwendolen. If, when 
they were under the stress of travelling, she did 
not appear at the breakfast-table till every one 
else had finished, the only question was, how 
Gwendolen's coffee and toast should still be of 
the hottest and crispest ; and when she appeared 
with her freshly-brushed light-brown hair stream- 
ing backward and awaiting her mamma's hand to 
coil it up, her long brown eyes glancing bright as 
a wave- washed onyx from under their long lashes, 
it was always she herself who had to be tolerant 
— to beg that Alice who sat waiting on her would 
not stick up her shoulders in that frightful man- 
ner, and that Isabel instead of pushing up to her 
and asking questions would go away to Miss 

Always she was the princess in exile, who in 
time of famine was to have her breakfast-roll 
made of the finest-bolted flour from the seven 
thin ears of wheat, and in a general decampment 
was to have her silver fork kept out of the bag- 
gage. How was this to be accounted for ? The 


answer may seem to lie quite on the surface : — 
in her beauty, a certain unusualness about her, 
a decision of will which made itself felt in her 
graceful movements and clear unhesitating tones, 
so that if she came into the room on a rainy day 
when everybody else was flaccid and the use of 
things in general was not apparent to them, there 
seemed to be a sudden, sufficient reason for keep- 
ing up the forms of life ; and even the waiters at 
hotels showed the more alacrity in doing away 
with crumbs and creases and dregs with strug- 
gling flies in them. This potent charm, added to 
the fact that she was the eldest daughter, towards 
whom her mamma had always been in an apolo- 
getic state of mind for the evils brought on her 
by a step-father, may seem so full a reason for 
Gwendolen's domestic empire, that to look for 
any other would be to ask the reason of daylight 
when the sun is shining. But beware of arriving 
at conclusions without comparison. I remember 
having seen the same assiduous, apologetic atten- 
tion awarded to persons who were not at all beau- 
tiful or unusual, whose firmness showed itself in 
no very graceful or euphonious way, and who were 
not eldest daughters with a tender, timid mother, 
compunctious at having subjected them to incon- 
veniences. Some of them were a very common 
sort of men. And the only point of resemblance 


among them all was a strong determination to 
have what was pleasant, with a total fearlessness 
in making themselves disagreeable or dangerous 
when they did not get it. Who is so much ca- 
joled and served with trembling by the weak 
females of a household as the unscrupulous male 
— capable, if he has not free way at home, of going 
and doing worse elsewhere ? Hence I am forced 
to doubt whether even without her potent charm 
and peculiar filial position Gwendolen might not 
still have played the queen in exile, if only she 
had kept her inborn energy of egoistic desire, and 
her power of inspiring fear as to what she might 
say or do. However, she had the charm, and 
those who feared her were also fond of her ; the 
fear and the fondness being perhaps both height- 
ened by what may be called the iridescence of her 
character — the play of various, nay, contrary ten- 
dencies. For Macbeth's rhetoric about the impos- 
sibility of being many opposite things in the same 
moment, referred to the clumsy necessities of action 
and not to the subtler possibilities of feeling. We 
cannot speak a loyal word and be meanly silent, 
we cannot kill and not kill in the same moment ; 
but a moment is room wide enough for the loyal 
and mean desire, for the outlash of a murderous 
thought and the sharp backward stroke of re- 



"Her wit 
Values itself so highly, that to her 
All matter else seems weak." 

— Much Ado about Nothing. 

Gwendolen's reception in the neighbourhood ful- 
filled her uncle's expectations. From Bracken- 
shaw Castle to the Firs at Wancester, where Mr 
Quallon the banker kept a generous house, she 
was welcomed with manifest admiration, and even 
those ladies who did not quite like her, felt a com- 
fort in having a new, striking girl to invite ; for 
hostesses who entertain much must make up their 
parties as ministers make up their cabinets, on 
grounds other than personal liking. Then, in 
order to have Gwendolen as a guest, it was not 
necessary to ask any one who was disagreeable, 
for Mrs Davilow always made a quiet, picturesque 
figure as a chaperon, and Mr Gascoigne was every- 
where in request for his own sake. 

Among the houses where Gwendolen was not 


quite liked, and yet invited, was Quetcham Hall. 
One of her first invitations "was to a large dinner 
party there, which made a sort of general intro- 
duction for her to the society of the neighbour- 
hood ; for in a select party of thirty and of well- 
composed proportions as to age, few visitable 
families could be entirely left out. No youth- 
ful figure there was comparable to Gwendolen's 
as she passed through the long suite of rooms 
adorned with light and flowers, and, visible at first 
as a slim figure floating along in white drapery, 
approached through one wide doorway after an- 
other into fuller illumination and definiteness. 
She had never had that sort of promenade before, 
and she felt exultingly that it befitted her : any 
one looking at her for the first time might have 
supposed that long galleries and lackeys had 
always been a matter of course in her life ; while 
her cousin Anna, who was really more familiar 
with these things, felt almost as much embar- 
rassed as a rabbit suddenly deposited in that 
well-lit space. 

" Who is that with Gascoigne ? " said the arch- 
deacon, neglecting a discussion of military man- 
oeuvres on which, as a clergyman, he was naturally 
appealed to. And his son, on the other side of 
the room — a hopeful young scholar, who had 


already suggested some " not less elegant than in- 
genious " emendations of Greek texts — said nearly 
at the same time, '' By George, who is that girl 
with the awfully well-set head and jolly figure?" 

But to a mind of general benevolence, wishing 
everybody to look well, it was rather exasperating 
to see how Gwendolen eclipsed others : how even 
the handsome Miss Lawe, explained to be the 
daughter of Lady Lawe, looked suddenly broad, 
heavy, and inanimate ; and how Miss Arrowpoint, 
unfortunately also dressed in white, immediately 
resembled a carte-de-visite in which one would 
fancy the skirt alone to have been charged for. 
Since Miss Arrowpoint was generally liked for 
the amiable unpretending way in which she wore 
her fortunes, and made a softening screen for the 
oddities of her mother, there seemed to be some 
unfitness in Gwendolen's looking so much more 
like a person of social importance. 

" She is not really so handsome, if you come to 
examine her features," said Mrs Arrowpoint, later 
in the evening, confidentially to Mrs Vulcany. 
" It is a certain style she has, which produces a 
great effect at first, but afterwards she is less 

In fact, Gwendolen, not intending it, but in- 
tending the contrary, had offended her hostess, 


who, though not a splenetic or vindictive woman, 
had her susceptibilities. Several conditions had 
met in the Lady of Quetcham which to the rea- 
soners in that neighbourhood seemed to have an 
essential connection with each other. It was 
occasionally recalled that she had been the 
heiress of a fortune gained by some moist or dry 
business in the city, in order fully to account for 
her having a squat figure, a harsh parrot -like 
voice, and a systematically high head-dress ; and 
since these points made her externally rather 
ridiculous, it appeared to many only natural that 
she should have what are called literary ten- 
dencies. A little comparison would have shown 
that all these points are to be found apart; 
daughters of aldermen being often well-grown and 
well -featured, pretty women having sometimes 
harsh or husky voices, and the production of 
feeble literature being found compatible with the 
most diverse forms of physique, masculine as well 
as feminine. 

Gwendolen, who had a keen sense of absurdity 
in others, but was kindly disposed towards any 
one who could make life agreeable to her, meant 
to win Mrs Arrowpoint by giving her an interest 
and attention beyond what others were probably 
inclined to show. But self-confidence is apt to 


address itself to an imaginary dulness in others ; 
as people who are well-off speak in a cajoling 
tone to the poor, and those who are in the prime 
of life raise their voice and talk artificially to 
seniors, hastily conceiving them to be deaf and 
rather imbecile. Gwendolen, with all her clever- 
ness and purpose to be agreeable, could not escape 
that form of stupidity : it followed in her mind, 
unreflectingly, that because Mrs An'owpoint was 
ridiculous she was also likely to be wanting in 
penetration, and she went through her little 
scenes without suspicion that the various shades 
of her behaviour were all noted. 

"You are fond of books as well as of music, 
riding, and archery, I hear," Mrs Arrowpoint said, 
going to her for a tete-d-t^te in the drawing-room 
after dinner : " Catherine will be very glad to 
have so sympathetic a neighbour." This little 
speech might have seemed the most graceful 
politeness, spoken in a low melodious tone ; but 
with a twang fatally loud, it gave Gwendolen a 
sense of exercising patronage when she answered 

" It is I who am fortunate. Miss Arrowpoint 
will teach me what good music is : I shall be 
entirely a learner. I hear that she is a thorough 


" Catherine has certainly had every advantage. 
We have a first-rate musician in the house now — 
Herr Klesmer; perhaps you know all his com- 
positions. You must allow me to introduce him 
to you. You sing, I believe. Catherine plays 
three instruments, but she does not sing. I hope 
you will let us hear you. I understand you are 
an accomplished singer." 

"Oh no ! — ' die Kraft ist schwach, allein die 
Lust ist gross/ as Mephistopheles says." 

"Ah, you are a student of Goethe. Young 
ladies are so advanced now. I suppose you have 
read everything." 

" No, really. I shall be so glad if you will tell 
me what to read. I have been looking into all 
the books in the library at Offendene, but there is 
nothing readable. The leaves all stick together 
and smell musty. I wish I could write books to 
amuse myself, as you can ! How delightful it 
must be to write books after one's own taste in- 
stead of reading other people's ! Home - made 
books must be so nice." 

For an instant Mrs Arrowpoint's glance was a 
little sharper, but the perilous resemblance to satire 
in the last sentence took the hue of girlish sim- 
plicity when Gwendolen added — 

" I would give anything to write a book I " 


" And why should you not ? " said Mrs Arrow- 
point, encouragingly. " You have but to begin as 
I did. Pen, ink, and paper are at everybody's 
command. But I will send you all I have written 
with pleasure." 

" Thanks. I shall be so glad to read your writ- 
ings. Being acquainted with authors must give a 
peculiar understanding of their books : one would 
be able to tell then which parts were funny and 
which serious. I am sure I often laugh in the 
wrong place." Here Gwendolen herself became 
aware of danger, and added quickly, " In Shakes- 
peare, you know, and other great writers that we 
can never see. But I always want to know more 
than there is in the books." 

" If you are interested in any of my subjects I 
can lend you many extra sheets in manuscript," 
said Mrs Arrowpoint — while Gwendolen felt herself 
painfully in the position of the young lady who 
professed to like potted sprats. " These are things 
I daresay I shall publish eventually: several 
friends have urged me to do so, and one doesn't 
like to be obstinate. My Tasso, for example — I 
could have made it twice the size." 

" I dote on Tasso," said Gwendolen. 

" Well, you shall have all my papers, if you 
like. So many, you know, have written about 


Tasso ; but they are all wrong. As to the particu- 
lar nature of his madness, and his feelings for 
Leonora, and the real cause of his imprisonment, 
and the character of Leonora, who, in my opinion, 
was a cold-hearted woman, else she would have 
married him in spite of her brother — they are all 
wrong. I differ from everybody." 

" How very interesting ! " said Gwendolen. " I 
like to differ from everybody. I think it is so 
stupid to agree. That is the worst of writing 
your opinions ; you make people agree with you." 

This speech renewed a slight suspicion in Mrs 
Arfowpoint, and again her glance became for a 
moment examining. But Gwendolen looked very 
innocent, and continued with a docile air. 

" I know nothing of Tasso except the Gerusa- 
lemme Liberata, which we read and learned by 
heart at school." 

" Ah, his life is more interesting than his poetry. 
I have constructed the early part of his life as a 
sort of romance. When one thinks of his father 
Bernardo, and so on, there is so much that must 
be true." 

" Imagination is often truer than fact," said 
Gwendolen, decisively, though she could no more 
have explained these glib words than if they had 
been Coptic or Etruscan. *' I shall be so glad to 


learn all about Tasso — and his madness especially. 
I suppose .poets are always a little mad." 

" To be sure — ' the poet's eye in a fine frenzy 
rolling ; ' and somebody says of Marlowe — 

* For that fine madness still he did maintain, 
Which always should possess the poet's brain.' " 

" But it was not always found out, was it ? " 
said Gwendolen, innocently. " I suppose some of 
them rolled their eyes in private. Mad people are 
often very cunning." 

Again a shade flitted over Mrs Arrowpoint's 
face ; but the entrance of the gentlemen prevented 
any immediate mischief between her and this too 
quick young lady, who had over-acted her naiveU. 

"Ah, here comes Herr Klesmer,'' said Mrs 
Arrowpoint, rising ; and presently bringing him to 
Gwendolen she left them to a dialogue which was 
agreeable on both sides, Herr Klesmer being a 
fehcitous combination of the German, the Sclave, 
and the Semite, with grand features, brown hair 
floating in artistic fashion, and brown eyes in 
spectacles. His English had little foreignness ex- 
cept its fluency ; and his alarming cleverness was 
made less formidable just then by a certain soften- 
ing air of silliness which will sometimes befall even 
Genius in the desire of being agreeable to Beauty. 


Music was soon begun. Miss Arrowpoint and 
Herr Klesmer played a four-handed piece on two 
pianos which convinced the company in general 
that it was long, and Gwendolen in particular that 
the neutral, placid-faced Miss Arrowpoint had 
a mastery of the instrument which put her own 
execution out of the question — though she was 
not discouraged as to her often-praised touch and 
style. After this every one became anxious to 
hear Gwendolen sing ; especially Mr Arrowpoint ; 
as was natural in a host and a perfect gentleman, 
of whom no one had anything to say but that he 
had married Miss Guttler, and imported the best 
cigars; and he led her to the piano with easy 
politeness. Herr Klesmer closed the instrument 
in readiness for her, and smiled with pleasure at 
her approach ; then placed himself at the distance 
of a few feet so that he could see her as she sang. 

Gwendolen was not nervous : what she under- 
took to do she did without trembling, and singing 
was an enjoyment to her. Her voice was a mo- 
derately powerful soprano (some one had told her 
it was like Jenny Lind's), her ear good, and she 
was able to keep in tune, so that her singing gave 
pleasure to ordinary hearers, and she had been used 
to unmingled applause. She had the rare advan- 
tage of looking almost prettier when she was sing- 


ing than at other times, and that Herr Klesmer 
was in front of her seemed not disagreeable. Her 
song, determined on beforehand, was a favourite 
aria of Bellini's, in which she felt quite sure of 

" Charming ! " said Mr Arrowpoint, who had 
remained near, and the word was echoed around 
without more insincerity than we recognise in a 
brotherly way as human. But Herr Klesmer stood 
like a statue — if a statue can be imagined in spec- 
tacles ; at least, he was as mute as a statue. 
Gwendolen was pressed to keep her seat and double 
the general pleasure, and she did not wish to re- 
fuse; but before resolving to do so, she moved a 
little towards Herr Klesmer, saying with a look of 
smiling appeal, " It would be too cruel to a great 
musician. You cannot like to hear poor amateur 

" No, truly ; but that makes nothing," said Herr 
Klesmer, suddenly speaking in an odious German 
fashion with staccato endings, quite unobservable in 
him before, and apparently depending on a change 
of mood, as Irishmen resume their strongest brogue 
when they are fervid or quarrelsome. "That 
makes nothing. It is always acceptable to see 
you sing." 

Was there ever so unexpected an assertion of 


superiority ? at least before the late Teutonic con- 
quests ? Gwendolen coloured deeply, but, with 
her usual presence of mind, did not show an un- 
graceful resentment by moving away immediately ; 
and Miss Arrowpoint, who had been near enough 
to overhear (and also to observe that Herr Kles- 
mer's mode of looking at Gwendolen was more 
conspicuously admiring than was quite consistent 
with good taste), now with the utmost tact and 
kindness came close to her and said — 

"Imagine what I have to go through with this 
professor ! He can hardly tolerate anything we 
English do in music. We can only put up with 
his severity, and make use of it to find out the 
worst that can be said of us. It is a little comfort 
to know that ; and one can bear it when every 
one else is admiring." 

" I should be very much obliged to him for tell- 
ing me the worst," said Gwendolen, recovering her- 
self. " I daresay I have been extremely ill taught, 
in addition to having no talent — only liking for 
music." This was very well expressed consider- 
ing that it had never entered her mind before. 

" Yes, it is true ; you have not been well taught," 
said Herr Klesmer, quietly. Woman was dear to 
liim, but music was dearer. " Still, you are not 
quite without gifts. You sing in tune, and you 



have a pretty fair organ. But you produce your 
notes badly ; and that music which you sing is 
beneath you. It is a form of melody which ex- 
presses a puerile state of culture — a dandling, 
canting, see-saw kind of stuff — the passion and 
thought of people without any breadth of horizon. 
There is a sort of self-satisfied folly about every 
phrase of such melody : no cries of deep, myste- 
rious passion — no conflict — no sense of the uni- 
versal. It makes men small as they listen to it. 
Sing now something larger. And I shall see." 

" Oh, not now. By-and-by," said Gwendolen, 
with a sinking of heart at the sudden width of 
horizon opened round her small musical per- 
formance. For a young lady desiring to lead, this 
first encounter in her campaign was startling. 
But she was bent on not behaving foolishly, and 
Miss Arrowpoint helped her by saying — 

" Yes, by-and-by. I always require half an hour 
to get up my courage after being criticised by 
Herr Klesmer. "We will ask him to play to us 
now : he is bound to show us what is good music." 

To be quite safe on this point Herr Klesmer 
played a composition of his own, a fantasia called 
Freudvoll, Leidvoll, Gedanhenvoll — an extensive 
commentary on some melodic ideas not too grossly 
evident ; and he certainly fetched as much variety 


and depth of passion out of the piano as that 
moderately reponsive instrument lends itself to, 
having an imperious magic in his fingers that 
seemed to send a nerve-thrill through ivory key 
and wooden hammer, and compel the strings to 
make a quivering lingering speech for him. Gwen- 
dolen, in spite of her wounded egoism, had fulness 
of nature enough to feel the power of this playing, 
and it gradually turned her inward sob of morti- 
fication into an excitement which lifted her for 
the moment into a desperate indifference about 
her own doings, or at least a determination to get 
a superiority over them by laughing at them as if 
they belonged to somebody else. Her eyes had 
become blighter, her cheeks slightly flushed, and 
her tongue ready for any mischievous remarks. 

"I wish you would sing to us again, Miss 
Harleth," said young Clintock, the archdeacon's 
classical son, who had been so fortunate as to take 
her to dinner, and came up to renew conversation 
as soon as Herr Klesmer's performance was ended. 
" That is the style of music for me. I never can 
make anything of this tip-top playing. It is like 
a jar of leeches, where you can never tell either 
beginnings or endings. I could listen to your 
singing all day." 

" Yes, we should be glad of something popular 


now — another song from you would be a relaxa- 
tion," said Mrs Arrowpoint, who had also come 
near with polite intentions. 

"That must be because you are in a puerile 
state of culture, and have no breadth of horizon. 
I have just learned that. I have been taught 
how bad my taste is, and am feeling growing 
pains. They are never pleasant," said Gwen- 
dolen, not taking any notice of Mrs Arrowpoint, 
and looking up with a bright smile at young 

Mrs Arrowpoint was not insensible to this rude- 
ness, but merely said, "Well, we will not press 
anything disagreeably : " and as there was a per- 
ceptible outrush of imprisoned conversation just 
then, and a movement of guests seeking each other, 
she remained seated where she was, and looked 
round her with the relief of the hostess at finding 
she is not needed. 

" I am glad you like this neighbourhood," said 
young Clintock, well pleased with his station in 
front of Gwendolen. 

"Exceedingly. There seems to be a little of 
everything and not much of anything." 

" That is rather equivocal praise." 

"Not with me. I like a little of everything; 


a little absurdity, for example, is very amusing. 
1 am thankful for a few queer people. But much 
of them is a bore." 

(Mrs Arrowpoint, who was hearing this dialogue, 
perceived quite a new tone in Gwendolen's speech, 
and felt a revival of doubt as to her interest in 
Tasso's madness.) 

" I think there should be more croquet, for one 
thing," said young Clintock ; " I am usually away, 
but if I were more here I should go in for a croquet 
club. You are one of the archers, I think. But 
depend upon it croquet is the game of the future. 
It wants writing up, though. One of our best 
men has written a poem on it, in four cantos ; — 
as good as Pope. I want him to publish it. You 
never read anything better." 

" I shaU study croquet to-morrow. I shall take 
to it instead of singing." 

" No, no, not that. But do take to croquet. I 
will send you Jenning's poem, if you like. I have 
a manuscript copy." 

" Is he a great friend of yours ? " 

"Well, rather." 

" Oh, if he is only rather, I think I will decline. 
Or, if you send it me, will you promise not to 
catechise me upon it and ask me which part I 


like best ? Because it is not so easy to know a 
poem without reading it as to know a sermon 
without listening." 

"Decidedly," Mrs Arrowpoint thought, "this 
girl is double and satirical. I shall be on my guard 
against her." 

But Gwendolen, nevertheless, continued to re- 
ceive polite attentions from the family at Quet- 
cham, not merely because invitations have larger 
grounds than those of personal liking, but because 
the trying little scene at the piano had awakened 
a kindly solicitude towards her in the gentle mind 
of Miss Arrowpoint, who managed all the invi- 
tations and visits, her mother being otherwise 



" Croyez vous m'avoir hGmiliee pour m'avoir appris que la terre toume 
autour du soleil ? Je vous jure que je ne m'en estime pas moins." 

— FoNTEXELLE : Pluralite des Mondes. 

That lofty criticism had caused Gwendolen a new 
sort of pain. She would not have chosen to con- 
fess how unfortunate she thought herself in not 
having had Miss Arrowpoint's musical advantages, 
so as to be able to question Herr Klesmer's taste 
with the confidence of thorough knowledge ; still 
less, to admit even to herself that Miss Arrow- 
point each time they met raised an unwonted feel- 
ing of jealousy in her; not in the least because 
she was an heiress, but because it was really pro- 
voking that a girl whose appearance you could not 
characterise except by saying that her figure was 
slight and of middle stature, her features small, 
her eyes tolerable and her complexion sallow, had 
nevertheless a certain mental superiority which 
could not be explained away — an exasperating 


thoroughness in her musical accomplishment, a 
fastidious discrimination in her general tastes, 
which made it impossible to force her admiration 
and kept you in awe of her standard. This in- 
significant-looking young lady of four-and-twenty, 
whom any one's eyes would have passed over 
negligently if she had not been Miss Arrowpoint, 
might be suspected of a secret opinion that Miss 
Harleth's acquirements were rather of a common 
order ; and such an opinion was not made agree- 
able to think of by being always veiled under a 
perfect kindness of manner. 

But Gwendolen did not like to dwell on facts 
which threw an unfavourable light on herself 
The musical Magus who had so suddenly widened 
her horizon was not always on the scene ; and his 
being constantly backwards and forwards between 
London and Quetcham soon began to be thought 
of as offering opportunities for converting him to 
a more admiring state of mind. Meanwhile, in 
the manifest pleasure her singing gave at Bracken- 
shaw Castle, the Firs, and elsewhere, she recovered 
her equanimity, being disposed to think approval 
more trustworthy than objection, and not being 
one of the exceptional persons who have a parch- 
ing thirst for a perfection undemanded by their 
neighbours. Perhaps it would have been rash to 


say then that she was at all exceptional inwardly, 
or that the unusual in her was more than her rare 
grace of movement and hearing, and a certain 
daring which gave piquancy to a very common 
egoistic amhition, such as exists under many 
clumsy exteriors and is taken no notice of. For 
I suppose that the set of the head does not really 
determine the hunger of the inner self for suprem- 
acy : it only makes a difference sometimes as to 
the way in which the supremacy is held attain- 
able, and a little also to the degree in which it can 
be attained ; especially when the hungry one is a 
girl, whose passion for doing what is remarkable 
has an ideal limit in consistency with the highest 
breeding and perfect freedom from the sordid 
need of income. Gwendolen was as inwardly 
rebellious against the restraints of family condi- 
tions, and as ready to look through obligations 
into her own fundamental want of feeling for 
them, as if she had been sustained by the boldest 
speculations ; but she really had no such specu- 
lations, and would at once have marked herself 
off from any sort of theoretical or practically re- 
forming women by satirising them. She rejoiced 
to feel herself exceptional ; but her horizon was 
that of the genteel romance where the heroine's 
soul poured out in her journal is full of vague 


power, originality, and general rebellion, while 
her life moves strictly in the sphere of fashion ; 
and if she wanders into a swamp, the pathos lies 
partly, so to speak, in her having on her satin 
shoes. Here is a restraint which nature and so- 
ciety have provided on the pursuit of striking ad- 
venture ; so that a soul burning with a sense of 
what the universe is not, and ready to take all 
existence as fuel, is nevertheless held captive by 
the ordinary wirework of social forms and doss 
nothing particular. 

This commonplace result was what Gwendolen 
found herself threatened with even in the novelty 
of the first winter at Offendene. What she was 
clear upon was, that she did not wish to lead the 
same sort of life as ordinary young ladies did ; but 
what she was not clear upon was, how she should 
set about leading any other, and what were the 
particular acts which she would assert her freedom 
by doing. Offendene remained a good background, 
if anything would happen there ; but on the whole 
the neighbourhood was in fault. 

Beyond the effect of her beauty on a first pre- 
sentation, there was not much excitement to be 
got out of her earliest invitations, and she came 
home after little sallies of satire and knowingness, 
such as had offended Mrs Arrowpoint, to fill the 


intervening days with the most girlish devices. 
The strongest assertion she was able to make of 
her individual claims was to leave out AHce's 
lessons (on the principle that Alice was more 
likely to excel in ignorance), and to employ her 
with Miss Merry, and the maid who was under- 
stood to wait on all the ladies, in helping to 
arrange various dramatic costumes which Gwen- 
dolen pleased herself with having in readiness for 
some future occasions of acting in charades or 
theatrical pieces, occasions wliich she meant to 
bring about by force of will or contrivance. She 
had never acted — only made a figure in taUeaux 
vivans at school ; but she felt assured that she 
could act well, and having been once or twice to 
the Thd^tre rran9ais, and also heard her mamma 
speak of Eachel, her waking dreams and cogita- 
tions as to how she would manage her destiny 
sometimes turned on the question whether she 
should become an actress like Rachel, since she 
was more beautiful than that thin Jewess. Mean- 
while the wet days before Christmas were passed 
pleasantly in the preparation of costumes, Greek, 
Oriental, and Composite, in which Gwendolen at- 
titudinised and speechified before a domestic audi- 
ence, including even the housekeeper, who was 
once pressed into it that she might swell the notes 


of applause ; but having shown herself unworthy 
by observing that Miss Harleth looked far more 
like a queen in her own dress than in that baggy 
thing with her arms all bare, she was not invited 
a second time. 

" Do I look as well as Rachel, mamma ? " said 
Gwendolen one day when she had been showing 
herself in her Greek dress to Anna, and going 
through scraps of scenes with much tragic intention. 

" You have better arms than Rachel," said Mrs 
Davilow ; " your arms would do for anything, 
Gwen. But your voice is not so tragic as hers : 
it is not so deep." 

" I can make it deeper if I like," said Gwen- 
dolen, provisionally; then she added, with decision, 
" I think a higher voice is more tragic : it is more 
feminine ; and the more feminine a woman is, 
the more tragic it seems when she does desperate 

" There may be something in that," said Mrs 
Davilow, languidly. " But I don't know what 
good there is in making one's blood creep. And 
if there is anything horrible to be done, I should 
like it to be left to the men." 

" Oh mamma, you are so dreadfully prosaic ! As 
if all the great poetic criminals were not women ! 
I think the men are poor cautious creatures." 


" Well, dear, and you — who are afraid to be 
alone in the night — I don't think you would be 
very bold in crime, thank God." 

" I am not talking about reality, mamma," said 
Gwendolen, impatiently. Then, her mamma being 
called out of the room, she turned quickly to her 
cousin, as if taking an opportunity, and said, 
" Anna, do ask my uncle to let us get up some 
charades at the Kectory. Mr Middleton and 
Warham could act with us — just for practice. 
Mamma says it will not do to have Mr Middle- 
ton consulting and rehearsing here. He is a 
stick, but we could give him suitable parts. Do 
ask ; or else I will." 

" Oh, not till Rex comes. He is so clever, and 
such a dear old thing, and he will act Napoleon 
looking over the sea. He looks just like Napoleon. 
Kex can do anything." 

" I don't in the least believe in your Rex, Anna," 
said Gwendolen, laughing at her. " He will turn 
out to be like those wretched blue and yellow 
water-colours of his which you hang up in your 
bedroom and worship." 

" Very well, you will see," said Anna. " It is 
not that I know what is clever, but he has got a 
scholarship already, and papa says he will get a 
fellowship, and nobody is better at games. He is 


cleverer than Mr Middleton, and everybody but 
you calls Mr Middleton clever/' 

" So he may be in a dark-lantern sort of way. 
But he is a stick. If he had to say, ' Perdition 
catch my soul, but I do love her,' he would say 
it in just the same tone as, ' Here endeth the 
second lesson/ " 

" Oh Gwendolen ! " said Anna, shocked at these 
promiscuous allusions. " And it is very unkind 
of you to speak so of him, for he admires you 
very much. I heard Warham say one day to 
mamma, ' Middleton is regularly spoony upon 
Gwendolen.' She was very angry with him ; but 
I know what it means. It is what they say at 
college for being in love." 

*' How can I help it ? " said Gwendolen, rather 
contemptuously. " Perdition catch my soul if I 
love him" 

" No, of course ; papa, I think, would not wish 
it. And he is to go away soon. But it makes me 
sorry when you ridicule him." 

"What shall you do to me when I ridicule 
Eex ? " said Gwendolen, wickedly. 

" Now, Gwendolen, dear, you will not ? " said 
Anna, her eyes filling with tears. " I could not 
bear it. But there really is nothing in him to 
ridicule. Only you may find out things. For no 


one ever thought of laughing at Mr Middleton 
before you. Every one said he was nice-looking, 
and his manners perfect. I am sure I have 
always been frightened at him because of his 
learning and his square-cut coat, and his being a 
nephew of the bishop's and all that. But you 
will not ridicule Eex — promise me." Anna 
ended with a beseeching look which touched 

"You are a dear little coz/' she said, just touch- 
ing the tip of Anna's chin with her thumb and 
fore-finger. " I don't ever want to do anything 
that will vex you. Especially if Eex is to make 
everything come off — charades and everything." 

And when at last Eex was there, the animation 
he brought into the life at Ofifendene and the 
Eectory, and his ready partnership in Gwendolen's 
plans, left her no inclination for any ridicule that 
was not of an open and flattering kind, such as 
he himself enjoyed. He was a fine open-hearted 
youth, with a handsome face strongly resembling 
his father's and Anna's, but softer in expression 
than the one, and larger in scale than the other : 
a bright, healthy, loving nature, enjoying ordinary, 
innocent things so much that vice had no tempta- 
tion for him, and what he knew of it lay too en- 
tirely in the outer courts and little- visited cham- 


bers of his mind for him to think of it with great 
repulsion. Vicious habits were with him " what 
some fellows did " — " stupid stuff " which he 
liked to keep aloof from. He returned Anna's 
affection as fully as could be expected of a brother 
whose pleasures apart from her were more than 
the sum total of hers ; and he had never known 
a stronger love. 

The cousins were continually together at the 
one house or the other — chiefly at Offendene, 
where there was more freedom, or rather where 
there was a more complete sway for Gwendolen ; 
and whatever she wished became a ruling purpose 
for Eex. The charades came off according to her 
plans ; and also some other little scenes not con- 
templated by her in which her acting was more 
impromptu. It was at Offendene that the 
charades and tableaux were rehearsed and pre- 
sented, Mrs Davilow seeing no objection even to 
Mr Middleton's being invited to share in them, 
now that Rex too was there — especially as his 
services were indispensable ; Warham, who was 
studying for India with a Wancester " coach," 
having no time to spare, and being generally dis- 
mal under a cram of everything except the an- 
swers needed at the forthcoming examination, 
which might disclose the welfare of our Indian 


Empire to be somehow connected with a quotable 
knowledge of Browne's Pastorals. 

Mr Middleton was persuaded to play various 
grave parts, Gwendolen having flattered him on 
his enviable immobility of countenance ; and, at 
first a little pained and jealous at her comradeship 
with Eex, he presently drew encouragement from 
the thought that this sort of cousinly familiarity 
excluded any serious passion. Indeed, he occa- 
sionally felt that her more formal treatment of 
himself was such a sign of favour as to warrant 
his making advances before he left Pennicote, 
though he had intended to keep his feelings in 
reserve until his position should be more assured. 
Miss Gwendolen, quite aware that she was adored 
by this unexceptionable young clergyman with 
pale whiskers and square-cut collar, felt nothing 
more on the subject than that she had no objec- 
tion to be adored: she turned her eyes on him 
with calm mercilessness and caused him many 
mildly agitating hopes by seeming always to 
avoid dramatic contact with him — for all mean- 
ings, we know, depend on the key of interpre- 

Some persons might have thought beforehand 
that a young man of Anglican leanings, having 
a sense of sacredness much exercised on small 

VOL. I. a 


things as well as great, rarely laughing save from 
politeness, and in general regarding the mention 
of spades by their naked names as rather coarse, 
would not have seen a fitting bride for himself 
in a girl who was daring in ridicule, and showed 
none of the special grace required in the cler- 
gyman's wife ; or, that a young man informed by 
theological reading would have reflected that he 
was not likely to meet the taste of a lively, rest- 
less young lady like Miss Harleth. But are we 
always obliged to explain why the facts are not 
what some persons thought beforehand? The 
apology lies on their side, who had that erroneoiis 
way of thinking. 

As for Eex, who would possibly have been 
sorry for poor Middleton if he had been aware of 
the excellent curate's inward conflict, he was too 
completely absorbed in a first passion to have 
observation for any person or thing. He did not 
observe Gwendolen ; he OAly felt what she said or 
did, and the back of his head seemed to be a good 
organ of information as to whether she was in the 
room or out. Before the end of the first fortnight 
he was so deeply in love that it was impossible 
for him to think of his life except as bound up 
with Gwendolen's. He could see no obstacles, 
poor boy; his own love seemed a guarantee of 


hers, since it was one with the unperturbed de- 
light in her image, so that he could no more 
dream of her giving him pain than an Egyptian 
could dream of snow. She sang and played to 
him whenever he liked, was always glad of his 
companionship in riding, though his borrowed 
steeds were often comic, was ready to join in any 
fun of his, and showed a right appreciation of 
Anna. No mark of sympathy seemed absent. 
That because Gwendolen was the most perfect 
creature in the world she was to make a grand 
match, had not occurred to him. He had no con- 
ceit — at least, not more than goes to make up the 
necessary gum and consistence of a substantial 
personality : it was only that in the young bliss 
of loving he took Gwendolen's perfection as part 
of that good which had seemed one with life to 
him, being the outcome of a happy, well-embodied 

One incident which happened in the course of 
their dramatic attempts impressed Eex as a sign 
of her unusual sensibility. It showed an aspect 
of her nature which could not have been precon- 
ceived by any one who, like him, had only seen her 
habitual fearlessness in active exercises and her 
high spirits in society. 

After a good deal of rehearsing it was resolved 


that a select party should be invited to Offendene 
to witness the performances which went with so 
much satisfaction to the actors. Anna had caused 
a pleasant surprise ; nothing could be neater than 
the way in which she played her little parts ; 
one would even have suspected her of hiding 
much sly observation under her simplicity. And 
Mr Middleton answered very well by not trying 
to be comic. The main source of doubt and 
retardation had been Gwendolen's desire to appear 
in her Greek dress. No word for a charade would 
occur to her either waking or dreaming that 
suited her purpose of getting a statuesque pose in 
this favourite costume. To choose a motive from 
Eacine was of no use, since Eex and the others 
could not declaim French verse, and improvised 
speeches would turn the scene into burlesque. 
Besides, Mr Gascoigne prohibited the acting of 
scenes from plays : he usually protested against 
the notion that an amusement which was fitting 
for every one else was unfitting for a clergyman ; 
but he would not in this matter overstep the line 
of decorum as drawn in that part of Wessex, 
which did not exclude his sanction of the young 
people's acting charades in his sister-in-law's 
house — a very different affair from private theatri- 
cals in the full sense of the word. 


Everybody of course was concerned to satisfy 
this wish of Gwendolen's, and Eex proposed that 
they should wind up with a tableau in which 
the effect of her majesty would not be marred by 
any one's speech. This pleased her thoroughly, 
and the only question was the choice of the 

" Something pleasant, children, I beseech you," 
said Mrs Davilow ; " I can't have any Greek wick- 

"It is no worse than Christian wickedness, 
mamma," said Gwendolen, whose mention of 
Eachelesque heroines had called forth that 

"And less scandalous," said Eex. "Besides, 
one thinks of it as all gone by and done with. 
What do you say to Briseis being led away ? I 
would be Achilles, and you would be looking 
round at me — after the print we have at the 

"That would be a good attitude for me," said 
Gwendolen, in a tone of acceptance. But after- 
wards she said with decision, " No. It will not 
do. There must be three men in proper costume, 
else it will be ridiculous." 

" I have it ! " said Eex, after a little reflection. 
"Hermione as the statue in the Winter's Tale! 


1 will be Leontes and Miss Merry Paulina, one on 
each side. Our dress won't signify," he went on 
laughingly ; " it will be more Shakespearian and 
romantic if Leontes looks like Napoleon, and 
Paulina like a modern spinster." 

And Hermione was chosen; all agreeing that 
age was of no consequence ; but Gwendolen urged 
that instead of the mere tableau there should be 
just enough acting of the scene to introduce the 
striking up of the music as a signal for her to step 
down and advance ; when Leontes, instead of em- 
bracing her, was to kneel and kiss the hem of her 
garment, and so the curtain was to fall. The 
antechamber with folding-doors lent itself ad- 
mirably to the purposes of a stage, and the whole 
of the establishment, with the addition of Jarrett 
the village carpenter, was absorbed in the pre- 
parations for an entertainment which, considering 
that it was an imitation of acting, was likely to 
be successful, since we know from ancient fable 
that an imitation may have more chance of 
success than the original. 

Gwendolen was not without a special exulta- 
tion in the prospect of this occasion, for she knew 
that Herr Klesmer was again at Quetcham, and 
she had taken care to include him among the 


Klesmer came. He was in one of liis placid 
silent moods, and sat in serene contemplation, 
replying to all appeals in benignant -sounding 
syllables more or less articulate — as taking up his 
cross meekly in a world overgrown with amateurs, 
or as careful how he moved his lion paws lest 
he should crush a rampant and vociferous mouse. 

Everything indeed went off smoothly and ac- 
cording to expectation — all that was improvised 
and accidental being of a probable sort — until 
the incident occurred which showed Gwendolen in 
an unforeseen phase of emotion. How it came 
about was at first a mystery. 

The tableau of Hermione was doubly striking 
from its dissimilarity with what had gone before : 
it was answering perfectly, and a murmur of 
applause had been gradually suppressed while 
Leontes gave his permission that Paulina should 
exercise her utmost art and make the statue move. 

Hermione, her arm resting on a pillar, was 
elevated by about six inches, which she counted 
on as a means of showing her pretty foot and 
instep, when at the given signal she should ad- 
vance and descend. 

" Music, awake her, strike ! " said Paulina (Mrs 
Davilow, who by special entreaty had consented 
to take the part in a white burnous and hood). 


Herr Klesmer, who had been good-natured 
enough to seat himself at the piano, struck a 
thunderous chord — but in the same instant, and 
before Hermione had put forth her foot, the mov- 
able panel, which was on a line with the piano, 
flew open on the right opposite the stage and 
disclosed the picture of the dead face and the 
fleeing figure, brought out in pale definiteness by 
the position of the wax-lights. Every one was 
startled, but all eyes in the act of turning towards 
the opened panel were recalled by a piercing cry 
from Gwendolen, who stood without change of 
attitude, but with a change of expression that was 
terrifying in its terror. She looked like a statue 
into which a soul of Fear had entered : her pallid 
lips were parted; her eyes, usually narrowed 
under their long lashes, were dilated and fixed. 
Her mother, less surprised than alarmed, rushed 
towards her, and Kex too could not help going 
to her side. But the touch of her mother's arm 
had the effect of an electric charge ; Gwendolen 
fell on her knees and put her hands before her 
face. She was still trembling, but mute, and it 
seemed that she had self-consciousness enough 
to aim at controlling her signs of terror, for 
she presently allowed herself to be raised from 
her kneeling posture and led away, while the 


company were relieving their minds by expla- 

"A magnificent bit oiplastik that!" said Kles- 
mer to Miss Arrowpoint. And a quick fire of 
undertoned question and answer went round. 

" Was it part of the play ? " 

"Oh no, surely not. Miss Harleth was too 
much affected. A sensitive creature ! " 

" Dear me ! I was not aware that there was a 
painting behind that panel ; were you ? " 

" No ; how should I ? Some eccentricity in 
one of the Earl's family long ago, I suppose." 

" How very painful ! Pray shut it up." 

" Was the door locked ? It is very mysterious. 
It must be the spirits." 

" But there is no medium present.'* 

" How do you know that ? We must conclude 
that there is, when such things happen." 

" Oh, the door was not locked ; it was probably 
the sudden vibration from the piano that sent it 

This conclusion came from Mr Gascoigne, who 
begged Miss Merry if possible to get the key. 
But this readiness to explain the mystery was 
thought by Mrs Vulcany unbecoming in a clergy- 
man, and she observed in an undertone that Mr 
Gascoigne was always a little too worldly for her 


taste. However, the key was produced, and the 
rector turned it in the lock with an emphasis 
rather offensively rationalising — as who should 
say, " It will not start open again " — putting the 
key in his pocket as a security. 

However, Gwendolen soon reappeared, showing 
her usual spirits, and evidently determined to 
ignore as far as she could the striking change she 
had made in the part of Hermione. 

But when Klesmer said to her, "We have to 
thank you for devising a perfect climax: you 
could not have chosen a finer bit oiplastih!' there 
was a flush of pleasure in her face. She liked to 
accept as a belief what was really no more than 
delicate feigning. He divined that the betrayal 
into a passion of fear had been mortifying to her, 
and wished her to understand that he took it for 
good acting. Gwendolen cherished the idea that 
now he was struck with her talent as well as her 
beauty, and her uneasiness about his opinion was 
half turned to complacency. 

But too many were in the secret of what had 
been included in the rehearsals, and what had not, 
and no one besides Klesmer took the trouble to 
soothe Gwendolen's imagined mortification. The 
general sentiment was that the incident should be 
let drop. 


There had really been a medium concerned in 
the starting open of the panel: one who had 
quitted the room in haste and crept to bed in 
much alarm of conscience. It was the small 
Isabel, whose intense curiosity, unsatisfied by the 
brief glimpse she had had of the strange picture 
on the day of arrival at Offendene, had kept her 
on the watch for an opportunity of finding out 
where Gwendolen had put the key, of stealing it 
from the discovered drawer when the rest of the 
family were out, and getting on a stool to unlock 
the panel. While she was indulging her thirst 
for knowledge in this way, a noise which she 
feared was an approaching footstep alarmed her; 
she closed the door and attempted hurriedly to 
lock it, but failing and not daring to linger, she 
withdrew the key and trusted that the panel 
would stick, as it seemed well inclined to do. In 
this confidence she had returned the key to its 
former place, stilling any anxiety by the thought 
that if the door were discovered to be unlocked 
nobody could know how the unlocking came 
about. The inconvenient Isabel, like other 
offenders, did not foresee her own impulse to 
confession, a fatality which came upon her the 
morning after the party, when Gwendolen said 
at the breakfast-table, " I know the door was 


locked before the housekeeper gave me the key, 
for I tried it myself afterwards. Some one must 
have been to my drawer and taken the key." 

It seemed to Isabel that Gwendolen's awful 
eyes had rested on her more than on the other 
sisters, and without any time for resolve she said 
with a trembling lip, " Please forgive me, Gwen- 

The forgiveness was sooner bestowed than it 
would have been if Gwendolen had not desired to 
dismiss from her own and every one else's memory 
any case in which she had shown her suscepti- 
bility to terror. She wondered at herself in these 
occasional experiences, which seemed like a brief 
remembered madness, an unexplained exception 
from her normal life; and in this instance she 
felt a peculiar vexation that her helpless fear 
had shown itself, not, as usual, in solitude, but in 
well-lit company. Her ideal was to be daring 
in speech and reckless in braving dangers, both 
moral and physical ; and though her practice fell 
far behind her ideal, this shortcoming seemed to 
be due to the pettiness of circumstances, the 
narrow theatre which life offers to a girl of 
twenty, who cannot conceive herself as anything 
else than a lady, or as in any position which would 
lack the tribute of respect. She had no perma- 


nent consciousness of other fetters, or of more 
spiritual restraints, having always disliked what- 
ever was presented to her under the name of 
religion, in the same way that some people dislike 
arithmetic and accounts : it had raised no other 
emotion in her, no alarm, no longing ; so that the 
question whether she believed it had not occurred 
to her, any more than it had occurred to her to in- 
quire into the conditions of colonial property and 
banking, on which, as she had had many oppor- 
tunities of knowing, the family fortune was de- 
pendent. All these facts about herself she would 
have been ready to admit, and even, more or less 
indirectly, to state. What she unwillingly re- 
cognised and would have been glad for others to 
be unaware of, was that liability of hers to fits 
of spiritual dread, though this fountain of awe 
within her had not found its way into connection 
with the religion taught her or with any human 
relations. She was ashamed and frightened, as 
at what might happen again, in remembering 
her tremor on suddenly feeling herself alone, 
when, for example, she was walking without com- 
panionship and there came some rapid change in 
the light. Solitude in any wide scene impressed 
her with an undefined feeling of immeasurable 
existence aloof from her, in the midst of which 


she was helplessly incapable of asserting herself. 
The little astronomy taught her at school used 
sometimes to set her imagination at work in a 
way that made her tremble; but always when 
some one joined her she recovered her indiffer- 
ence to the vastness in which she seemed an 
exile ; she found again her usual world in which 
her will was of some avail, and the religious 
nomenclature belonging to this world was no more 
identified for her with those uneasy impressions 
of awe than her uncle's surplices seen out of use 
at the rectory. With human ears and eyes about 
her, she had always hitherto recovered her con- 
fidence, and felt the possibility of winning empire. 
To her mamma and others her fits of timidity 
or terror were sufficiently accounted for by her 
" sensitiveness" or the "excitability of her nature;" 
but these explanatory phrases required concilia- 
tion with much that seemed to be blank indif- 
ference or rare self-mastery. Heat is a great 
agent and a useful word, but considered as a 
means of explaining the universe it requires an 
extensive knowledge of differences ; and as a 
means of explaining character "sensitiveness" is 
in much the same predicament. But who, loving 
a creature like Gwendolen, would not be inclined 
to regard every peculiarity in her as a mark of 


pre-eminence? That was what Eex did. After 
the Hermione scene he was more persuaded than 
ever that she must be instinct with all feeling, 
and not only readier to respond to a worshipful 
love, but able to love better than other girls. Eex 
felt the summer on his young wings and soared 



"Perigot. As the bonny lasse passed bye, 
Willie. Hey, lio, bonnilasse ! 

P. She roode at me with glauncing eye, 
W. As clear as the crystal! glasse. 
— P, All as the smiuy beame so bright, 
W. Hey, ho, the sunnebeame ! 
P. Glauneeth from Phoebns' face forthright, 
W. So love into thy heart did streame." 

— Spekser : SJiepJieard's Calendar. 

"The kindliest sjTnptom, yet the most alarming crisis in the ticklish 
state of youth ; the noirrisher and destroyer of hopeful wits ; . . . the servi- 
tude above freedom ; the gentle mind's religion ; the liberal superstition." 
— Charles Lamb, 

The first sign of the Tinimagiiied snowstorm was 
like the transparent white cloud that seems to set 
off the blue. Anna was in the secret of Eex's 
feeling ; though for the first time in their lives 
he had said nothing to her about what he most 
thought of, and he only took it for granted that 
she knew it. For the first time, too, Anna could 
not say to Eex what was continually in her mind. 
Perhaps it might have been a pain which she would 
have had to conceal, that he should so soon care 


for some one else more than for herself, if such 
a feeling had not been thoroughly neutralised by- 
doubt and anxiety on his behalf. Anna admired 
her cousin — would have said with simple sincerity, 
" Gwendolen is always very good to me," and held 
it in the order of things for herself to be entirely 
subject to this cousin ; but she looked at her with 
mingled fear and distrust, with a puzzled con- 
templation as of some wondrous and beautiful 
animal whose nature was a mystery, and who, for 
anything Anna knew, might have an appetite for 
devouring all the small creatures that were her 
own particular pets. And now Anna's heart was 
sinking under the heavy conviction which she 
dared not utter, that Gwendolen would never care 
for Rex. What she herself held in tenderness 
and reverence had constantly seemed indifferent 
to Gwendolen, and it was easier to imagine her 
scorning Eex than returning any tenderness of 
his. Besides, she was always thinking of being 
something extraordinary. And poor Rex ! Papa 
would be angry with him, if he knew. And of 
course he was too young to be in love in that way; 
and she, Anna, had thought that it would be years 
and years before anything of that sort came, and 
that she would be Rex's housekeeper ever so long. 
But what a heart must that be which did not 

VOL. I. H 


return his love ! Anna, in the prospect of his 
suffering, was beginning to dislike her too fasci- 
nating cousin. 

It seemed to her, as it did to Eex, that the 
weeks had been filled with a tumultuous life 
evident to all observers : if he had been questioned 
on the subject he would have said that he had 
no wish to conceal what he hoped would be an 
engagement which he should immediately tell his 
father of ; and yet for the first time in his life he 
was reserved not only about his feelings but — 
which was more remarkable to Anna — about cer- 
tain actions. She, on her side, was nervous each 
time her father or mother began to speak to her 
in private lest they should say anything about 
Eex and Gwendolen. But the elders were not in 
the least alive to this agitating drama, which went 
forward chiefly in a sort of pantomime extremely 
lucid in the minds thus expressing themselves, 
but easily missed by spectators who were run- 
ning their eyes over the Guardian or the Clerical 
Gazette, and regarded the trivialities of the young 
ones with scarcely more interpretation than they 
gave to the actions of lively ants. 

" Where are you going, Eex ?" said Anna one 
grey morning when her father had set off in the 
carriage to the sessions, Mrs Gascoigne with him, 


and she had observed that her brother had on his 
antigropelos, the utmost approach he possessed to 
a hunting equipment. 

" Going to see the hounds throw off at the Three 

" Are you going to take Gwendolen ? " said 
Anna, timidly. 

" She told you, did she ?" 

" No, but I thought Does papa know you 

are going?" 

" Not that I am aware of. I don't suppose he 
would trouble himself about the matter." 

" You are going to use his horse ? " 

" He knows I do that whenever I can." 

"Don't let Gwendolen ride after the hounds, 
Rex," said Anna, whose fears gifted her with 

"Why not?" said Eex, smiling rather provok- 

" Papa and mamma and aunt Davilow all wish 
her not to. They think it is not right for her." 

" Why should you suppose she is going to do 
what is not right ? " 

" Gwendolen minds nobody sometimes," said 
Anna, getting bolder by dint of a little anger. 

" Then she would not mind me," said Eex, per- 
versely making a joke of poor Anna's anxiety. 


" Oh Eex, I cannot bear ifc. You will make your- 
self very unhappy." Here Anna burst into tears. 

" Nannie, Nannie, what on earth is the matter 
with you ?" said Eex, a little impatient at being 
kept in this way, hat on and whip in hand. 

"She will not care for you one bit — I know 
she never will ! " said the poor child in a sobbing 
whisper. She had lost all control of herself. 

Eex reddened and hurried away from her out 
of the hall door, leaving her to the miserable 
consciousness of having made herself disagreeable 
in vain. 

He did think of her words as he rode along : 
they had the unwelcomeness which all unfavour- 
able fortune-telling has, even when laughed at ; 
but he quickly explained them as springing from 
little Anna's tenderness, and began to be sorry that 
he was obliged to come away without soothing her. 
Every other feeling on the subject, however, was 
quickly merged in a resistant belief to the con- 
trary of hers, accompanied with a new determina- 
tion to prove that he was right. This sort of 
certainty had just enough kinship to doubt and 
uneasiness to hurry on a confession which an 
untouched security might have delayed. 

Gwendolen was already mounted and riding 
up and down the avenue when Eex appeared at 


the gate. She had provided herself against dis- 
appointment in case he did not appear in time by 
having the groom ready behind her, for she would 
not have waited beyond a reasonable time. But 
now the groom was dismissed, and the two rode 
away in delightful freedom. Gwendolen was in 
her highest spirits, and Eex thought that she had 
never looked so lovely before : her figure, her long 
white throat, and the curves of her cheek and 
chin were always set off to perfection by the com- 
pact simplicity of her riding dress. He could not 
conceive a more perfect girl ; and to a youthful 
lover like Eex it seems that the fundamental 
identity of the good, the true, and the beautiful, is 
already extant and manifest in the object of his 
love. Most observers would have held it more 
than equally accountable that a girl should have 
like impressions about Eex, for in his handsome 
face there was nothing corresponding to the un- 
definable stinging quality — as it were a trace of 
demon ancestry — which made some beholders 
hesitate in their admiration of Gwendolen. 

It was an exquisite January morning in which 
there was no threat of rain, but a grey sky 
making the calmest background for the charms of 
a mild winter scene : — the grassy borders of the 
lanes, the hedgerows sprinkled with red berries 


and haunted with low twitterings, the purple bare- 
ness of the elms, the rich brown of the furrows. 
The horses' hoofs made a musical chime, accom- 
panying their young voices. She was laughing at 
his equipment, for he was the reverse of a dandy, 
and he was enjoying her laughter : the freshness of 
the morning mingled with the freshness of their 
youth; and every sound that came from their clear 
throats, every glance they gave each other, was the 
bubbling outflow from a spring of joy. It was all 
morning to them, within and without. And think- 
ing of them in these moments one is tempted to 
that futile sort of wishing — if only things could 
have been a little otherwise then, so as to have 
been greatly otherwise after ! — if only these two 
beautiful young creatures could have pledged 
themselves to each other then and there, and 
never through life have swerved from that pledge ! 
For some of the goodness which Eex believed in 
was there. Goodness is a large, often a prospec- 
tive word ; like harvest, which at one stage when 
we talk of it lies all underground, with an inde- 
terminate future : is the germ prospering in the 
darkness? at another, it has put forth delicate 
green blades, and by-and-by the trembling blos- 
soms are ready to be dashed off by an hour of 
rough wind or rain. Each stage has its peculiar 


blight, and may have the healthy life choked out 
of it by a particular action of the foul land which 
rears or neighbours it, or by damage brought from 
foulness afar. 

" Anna had got it into her head that you would 
want to ride after the hounds this morning," said 
Eex, whose secret associations with Anna's words 
made this speech seem quite perilously near the 
most momentous of subjects. 

"Did she?" said Gwendolen, laughingly. 
" What a little clairvoyante she is ! " 

" Shall you ? " said Kex, who had not believed 
in her intending to do it if the elders objected, 
but confided in her having good reasons. 

" I don't know. I can't tell what I shall do till 
I get there. Clairvoyantes are often wrong : they 
foresee what is likely. I am not fond of what is 
likely ; it is always dull. I do what is unlikely." 

" Ah, there you tell me a secret. When once I 
knew what people in general would be likely to 
do, I should know you would do the opposite. 
So you would have come round to a likelihood 
of your own sort. I shall be able to calculate 
on you. You couldn't surprise me." 

" Yes, I could. I should turn round and do 
what was likely for people in general," said Gwen- 
dolen, with a musical laugh. 


" You see you can't escape some sort of likeli- 
hood. And contradictoriness makes the strongest 
likelihood of all. You must give up a plan." 

"No, I shall not. My plan is to do what 
pleases me." (Here should any young lady in- 
cline to imitate Gwendolen, let her consider the 
set of her head and neck : if the angle there had 
been different, the chin protrusive and the cervical 
vertebrae a trifle more curved in their position, ten 
to one Gwendolen's words would have had a jar 
in them for the sweet-natured Rex. But every- 
thing odd in her speech was humour and pretty 
banter, which he was only anxious to turn to- 
wards one point.) 

"Can you manage to feel only what pleases 
you ? " said he. 

" Of course not ; that comes from what other 
people do. But if the world were pleasanter, 
one would only feel what was pleasant. Girls' 
lives are so stupid : they never do what they like." 

" I thought that was more the case of the men. 
They are forced to do hard things, and are often 
dreadfully bored, and knocked to pieces too. And 
then, if we love a girl very dearly we want to do 
as she likes, so after all you have your own way." 

" I don't believe it. I never saw a married 
woman who had her own way." 


" What should you like to do ? " said Rex, quite 
guilelessly, and in real anxiety. 

" Oh, I don't know ! — go to the North Pole, or 
ride steeplechases, or go to be a queen in the 
East like Lady Hester Stanhope," said G wendolen, 
flightily. Her words were born on her lips, but 
she would have been at a loss to give an answer 
of deeper origin. 

" You don't mean you would never be married." 

" No ; I didn't gay that. Only when I married, 
I should not do as other women do." 

" You might do just as you liked if you married 
a man who loved you more dearly than anything 
else in the world," said Eex, who, poor youth, was 
moving in themes outside the curriculum in which 
he had promised to win distinction. " I know 
one who does." 

" Don't talk of Mr Middleton, for heaven's sake," 
said Gwendolen, hastily, a quick blush spreading 
over her face and neck; "that is Anna's chant. 
I hear the hounds. Let us go on." 

She put her chestnut to a canter, and Rex had 
no choice but to follow her. Still he felt en- 
couraged. Gwendolen was perfectly aware that 
her cousin was in love with her ; but she had 
no idea that the matter was of any consequence, 
having never had the slightest visitation of pain- 


M love herself. She wished the small romance 
of Eex's devotion to fill up the time of his stay at 
Pennicote, and to avoid explanations which would 
bring it to an untimely end. Besides, she object- 
ed, with a sort of physical repulsion, to being 
directly made love to. With all her imaginative 
delight in being adored, there was a certain fierce- 
ness of maidenhood in her. 

But all other thoughts were soon lost for her in 
the excitement of the scene at the Three Barns. 
Several gentlemen of the hunt knew her, and she 
exchanged pleasant greetings. Kex could not get 
another word with her. The colour, the stir of the 
field had taken possession of Gwendolen with a 
strength which was not due to habitual associa- 
tion, for she had never yet ridden after the hounds 
— only said she should like to do it, and so drawn 
forth a prohibition ; her mamma dreading the 
danger, and her uncle declaring that for his part 
he held that kind of violent exercise unseemly in a 
woman, and that whatever might be done in other 
parts of the country, no lady of good position fol- 
lowed the Wessex hunt : no one but Mrs Gadsby, 
the yeomanry captain's wife, who had been a 
kitchen-maid and still spoke like one. This last 
argument had some effect on Gwendolen, and had 
kept her halting between her desire to assert her 


freedom and her horror of being classed with Mrs 

Some of the most unexceptionable women in 
the neighbourhood occasionally went to see the 
hounds throw off ; but it happened that none of 
them were present this morning to abstain from 
following, while Mrs Gadsby, with her doubtful 
antecedents grammatical and otherwise, was not 
visible to make following seem unbecoming. 
Thus Gwendolen felt no check on the animal 
stimulus that came from the stir and tongue of 
the hounds, the pawing of the horses, the varying 
voices of men, the movement hither and thither 
of vivid colour on the background of green and 
grey stillness : — that utmost excitement of the 
coming chase which consists in feeling something 
like a combination of dog and horse, with the 
superadded thrill of social vanities and conscious- 
ness of centaur-power which belong to human kind. 

Eex would have felt more of the same enjoy- 
ment if he could have kept nearer to Gwendolen, 
and not seen her constantly occupied with acquaint- 
ances, or looked at by would-be acquaintances, all 
on lively horses which veered about and swept 
the surrounding space as effectually as a revolv- 
ing lever. 

" Glad to see you here this fine morning. Miss 


Harleth," said Lord Brackenshaw, a middle-aged 
peer of aristocratic seediness in stained pink, with 
easy-going manners which would have made the 
threatened Deluge seem of no consequence. " We 
shall have a first-rate run. A pity you don't go 
with us. Have you ever tried your little chestnut 
at a ditch ? you wouldn't be afraid, eh ? " 

" Not the least in the world," said Gwendolen. 
And this w^as true ; she was never fearful in 
action and companionship. " I have often taken 
him at some rails and a ditch too, near " 

" Ah, by Jove ! " said his lordship, quietly, in 
notation that something was happening which 
must break off the dialogue ; and as he reined off 
his horse, Rex was bringing his sober hackney up 

to Gwendolen's side when the hounds gave 

tongue, and the w^hole field was in motion as if 
the whirl of the earth were carrying it ; Gwen- 
dolen along wdth everything else ; no word of 
notice to Rex, who without a second thought 
followed too. Could he let Gwendolen go alone ? 
under other circumstances he would have enjoyed 
the run, but he was just now perturbed by the 
check which had been put on the impetus to utter 
his love, and get utterance in return, an impetus 
which could not at once resolve itself into a 
totally different sort of chase, at least with the 


consciousness of being on his father's grey nag, a 
good horse enough in his way, but of sober years 
and ecclesiastical habits. Gwendolen on her 
spirited little chestnut was up with the best, and 
felt as secure as an immortal goddess, having, if 
she had thought of risk, a core of confidence that 
no ill luck would happen to her. But she thought 
of no such thing, and certainly not of any risk 
there might be for her cousin. If she had thought 
of him, it would have struck her as a droll picture 
that he should be gradually falling behind, and 
looking round in search of gates : a fine lithe youth, 
whose heart must be panting with all the spirit of 
a beagle, stuck as if under a wizard's spell on a 
stiff clerical hackney, would have made her laugh 
with a sense of fun much too strong for her to 
reflect on his mortification. But Gwendolen was 
apt to think rather of those who saw her than 
of those whom she could not see ; and Eex was 
soon so far behind that if she had looked she 
w^ould not have seen him. For I grieve to say 
that in the search for a gate, along a lane lately 
mended, Primrose fell, broke his knees, and un- 
designedly threw Rex over his head. 

Fortunately a blacksmith's sou who also fol- 
lowed the hounds under disadvantages, namely, 
on foot (a loose way of hunting which had 


struck some even frivolous minds as immoral), 
was naturally also in the rear, and happened 
to be within sight of Eex's misfortune. He 
ran to give help which was greatly needed, 
for Eex was a good deal stunned, and the com- 
plete recovery of sensation came in the form 
of pain. Joel Dagge on this occasion showed 
himself that most useful of personages, whose 
knowledge is of a kind suited to the immediate 
occasion : he not only knew perfectly well what 
was the matter with the horse, how far they were 
both from the nearest public-house and from 
Pennicote Eectory, and could certify to Eex that 
his shoulder was only a bit out of joint, but also 
offered experienced surgical aid. 

" Lord, sir, let me shove it in again for you ! 
I's see Nash the bone-setter do it, and done it 
myseK for our little Sally twice over. It's all one 
and the same, shoulders is. If you'U trusten to 
me and tighten your mind up a bit, I'll do it for 
you in no time." 

" Come then, old fellow," said Eex, who could 
tighten his mind better than his seat in the saddle. 
And Joel managed the operation, though not 
without considerable expense of pain to his 
patient, who turned so pitiably pale while tighten- 
ing his mind, that Joel remarked, " Ah, sir, you 


aren't used to it, that's how it is. I's see lots 
and lots o' joints out. I see a man with his eye 
pushed out once — that was a rum go as ever I see. 
You can't have a bit o' fun wi'out such a sort o' 
things. But it went in again. I's swallowed 
three teeth mysen, as sure as I'm alive. Now, 
sirrey " (this was addressed to Primrose), " come 
alonk — you mustn't make believe as you can't." 

Joel being clearly a low character, it is happily 
not necessary to say more of him to the refined 
reader, than that he helped Eex to get home with 
as little delay as possible. There was no alterna- 
tive but to get home, though all the while he was 
in anxiety about Gwendolen, and more miserable 
in the thought that she too might have had an 
accident, than in the pain of his own bruises and 
the annoyance he was about to cause his father. 
He comforted himself about her by reflecting that 
every one would be anxious to take care of her, 
and that some acquaintance would be sure to con- 
duct her home. 

Mr Gascoigne was already at home, and was writ- 
ing letters in his study, when he was interrupted 
by seeing poor Eex come in with a face which 
was not the less handsome and ingratiating for 
being pale and a little distressed. He was secretly 
the favourite son, and a young portrait of the 


father ; who, however, never treated him with any 
partiality — rather, with an extra rigour. Mr 
Gascoigne having inquired of Anna, knew that 
Rex had gone with Gwendolen to the meet at 
the Three Barns. 

" What's the matter ? " he said, hastily, not lay- 
ing down his pen. 

" I'm very sorry, sir ; Primrose has fallen down 
and broken his knees." 

'' Where have you been with him ? " said Mr 
Gascoigne, with a touch of severity. He rarely 
gave way to temper. 

"To the Three Barns to see the hounds throw off." 

" And you were fool enough to follow ? " 

" Yes, sir. I didn't go at any fences, but the 
horse got his leg into a hole." 

" And you got hurt yourself, I hope, eh ? " 

" I got my shoulder put out, but a young black- 
smith put it in again for me. I'm just a little 
battered, that's all." 

" Well, sit down." 

" I'm very sorry about the horse, sir. I knew 
it would be a vexation to you." 

" And what has become of Gwendolen ? " said 
Mr Gascoigne, abruptly. Rex, who did not 
imagine that his father had made any inquiries 
about him, answered at first with a blush which 


was the more remarkable for his previous paleness. 
Then he said, nervously — 

" I am anxious to know — I should like to go or 
send at once to Offendene — but she rides so well, 
and I think she would keep up — there would most 
likely be many round her." 

" I suppose it was she who led you on, eh ? " 
said Mr Gascoigne, laying down his pen, leaning 
back in his chair, and looking at Rex with more 
marked examination. 

" It was natural for her to want to go ; she 
didn't intend it beforehand — she was led away by 
the spirit of the thing. And of course I went 
when she went." 

Mr Gascoigne left a brief interval of silence, and 
then said with quiet irony, " But now you observe, 
young gentleman, that you are not furnished 
with a horse which will enable you to play the 
squire to your cousin. You must give up that 
amusement. You have spoiled my nag'for me, and 
that is enough mischief for one vacation. I shall 
beg you to get ready to start for Southampton to- 
morrow and join Stillfox, till you go up to Oxford 
with him. That will be good for your bruises as 
well as your studies." 

Poor Eex felt his heart swelling and comporting 
itself as if it had been no better than a girl's. 

VOL. L 1 


" I hope you will not insist on my going im- 
mediately, sir." 

"Do you feel too ill?" 

" No, not that — but " here Eex bit his lips 

and felt the tears starting, to his great vexation ; 
then he rallied and tried to say more firmly, " I 
want to go to Ofifendene — but I can go this 

" I am going there myself. I can bring word 
about Gwendolen, if that is what you want." 

Eex broke down. He thought he discerned an 
intention fatal to his happiness, nay, his life. He 
was accustomed to believe in his father's pene- 
tration, and to expect firmness. " Father, I can't 
go away without telling her that I love her, and 
knowing that she loves me." 

Mr Gascoigne was inwardly going through some 
self-rebuke for not being more wary, and was now 
really sorry for the lad ; but every consideration 
was subordinate to that of using the wisest tactics 
in the case. He had quickly made up his mind, 
and could answer the more quietly — 

" My dear boy, you are too young to be taking 
momentous, decisive steps of that sort. This is a 
fancy which you have got into your head during 
an idle week or two: you must set to work at 
something and dismiss it. There is every reason 


against it. An engagement at your age would 
be totally rash and unjustifiable ; and moreover, 
alliances between first cousins are undesirable. 
Make up your mind to a brief disappointment. Life 
is full of them. We have all got to be broken in ; 
and this is a mild beginning for you." 

" No, not mild. I can't bear it. I shall be good 
for nothing. I shouldn't mind anything, if it were 
settled between us. I could do anything then," 
said Eex, impetuously. "But it's of no use to 
pretend that I will obey you. I can't do it. If 
I said I would, I should be sure to break my 
word. I should see Gwendolen again." 

"Well, wait till to-morrow morning that we 
may talk of the matter again — you will promise 
me that," said Mr Gascoigne, quietly; and Kex 
did not, could not refuse. 

The Rector did not even tell his wife that he 
had any other reason for going to Offendene that 
evening than his desire to ascertain that Gwen- 
dolen had got home safely. He found her more 
than safe — elated. Mr Quallon, who had won the 
brush, had delivered the trophy to her, and she 
had brought it before her, fastened on the saddle ; 
more than that. Lord Brackenshaw had conducted 
her home, and had shown himself delighted with 
her spirited riding. All this was told at once to 


her uncle, that he might see how well justified she 
had been in acting against his advice ; and the 
prudential Rector did feel himself in a slight dif- 
ficulty, for at that moment he was particularly 
sensible that it was his niece's serious interest 
to be well regarded by the Brackenshaws, and 
their opinion as to her following the hounds really 
touched the essence of his objection. However, 
he was not obliged to say anything immediately, 
for Mrs Davilow followed up Gwendolen's brief 
triumphant phrases with — 

"Still, I do hope you will not do it again, 
Gwendolen. I should never have a moment's 
quiet. Her father died by an accident, you 

Here Mrs Davilow had turned away from 
Gwendolen, and looked at Mr Gascoigne. 

"Mamma dear," said Gwendolen, kissing her 
merrily, and passing over the question of the 
fears which Mrs Davilow had meant to account 
for, "children don't take after their parents in 
broken legs." 

Not one word had yet been said about Rex. In. 
fact there had been no anxiety about him at Oflfen- 
dene. Gwendolen had observed to her mamma, 
" Oh, he must have been left far behind, and gone 
home in despair," and it could not be denied that 


this was fortunate so far as it made way for 
Lord Bracken shawls bringing her home. But now 
Mr Gascoigne said, with some emphasis, looking 
at Gwendolen — 

"Well, the exploit has ended better for you 
than for Kex." 

" Yes, I daresay he had to make a terrible round. 
You have not taught Primrose to take the fences, 
uncle," said Gwendolen, without the faintest 
shade of alarm in her looks and tone. 

" Rex has had a fall," said Mr Gascoigne, curt- 
ly, throwing himself into an arm-chair, resting 
his elbows and fitting his palms and fingers to- 
gether, while he closed his lips and looked at 
Gwendolen, who said — 

" Oh, poor fellow ! he is not hurt, I hope ? " 
with a correct look of anxiety such as elated 
mortals try to superinduce when their pulses are 
all the while quick with triumph; and Mrs 
Davilow, in the same moment, uttered a low 
" Good heavens ! There ! " 

Mr Gascoigne went on : " He put his shoulder 
out, and got some bruises, I believe." Here he 
made another little pause of observation; but 
Gwendolen, instead of any such symptoms as 
pallor and silence, had only deepened the com- 
passionateness of her brow and eyes, and said 


again, " Oh, poor fellow ! it is nothing serious, 
then?" and Mr Gascoigne held his diagnosis 
complete. But he wished to make assurance 
doubly sure, and went on still with a purpose. 

" He got his arm set again rather oddly. Some 
blacksmith — not a parishioner of mine — was on 
the field — a loose fish, I suppose, but handy, and 
set the arm for him immediately. So after all, 
I believe, I and Primrose come off worst. The 
horse's knees are cut to pieces. He came down in 
a hole, it seems, and pitched Eex over his head." 

Gwendolen's face had allowably become con- 
tented again, since Eex's arm had been reset; and 
now, at the descriptive suggestions in the latter 
part of her uncle's speech, her elated spirits made 
her features less manageable than usual ; the smiles 
broke forth, and finally a descending scale of 

" You are a pretty young lady — to laugh at 
other people's calamities," said Mr Gascoigne, 
with a milder sense of disapprobation than if 
he had not had counteracting reasons to be glad 
that Gwendolen showed no deep feeling on the 

" Pray forgive me, uncle. Now Eex is safe, it 
is so droll to fancy the figure he and Primrose 
would cut — in a lane all by themselves — only a 


blacksmith running up. It would make a capital 
caricature of * Following the hounds.' " 

Gwendolen rather valued herself on her su- 
perior freedom in laughing where others might 
only see matter for seriousness. Indeed, the 
laughter became her person so well that her 
opinion of its gracefulness was often shared by 
others ; and it even entered into her uncle's course 
of thought at this moment, that it was no wonder 
a boy should be fascinated by this young witch — 
who, however, was more mischievous than could 
be desired. 

" How can you laugh at broken bones, child ? " 
said Mrs Davilow, still under her dominant 
anxiety. " I wish we had never allowed you to 
have the horse. You will see that we were 
wrong," she added, looking with a grave nod at 
Mr Gascoigne — " at least I was, to encourage her 
in asking for it." 

"Yes, seriously, Gwendolen," said Mr Gas- 
coigne, in a judicious tone of rational advice to a 
person understood to be altogether rational, " I 
strongly recommend you — I shall ask you to 
oblige me so far — not to repeat your adventure 
to-day. Lord Brackenshaw is very kind, but I 
feel sure that he would concur with me in what 
I say. To be spoken of as the young lady who 


hunts by way of exception, would give a tone to 
the language about you which I am sure you 
would not like. Depend upon it, his lordship 
would not choose that Lady Beatrice or Lady 
Maria should hunt in this part of the country, if 
they were old enough to do so. When you are 
married, it will be different : you may do what- 
ever your husband sanctions. But if you intend 
to hunt, you must marry a man who can keep 

" I don't know why I should do anything so 
horrible as to marry without that prospect, at 
least," said Gwendolen, pettishly. Her uncle's 
speech had given her annoyance, which she could 
not show more directly ; but she felt that she was 
committing herself, and after moving carelessly 
to another part of the room, went out. 

" She always speaks in that way about mar- 
riage," said Mrs Davilow ; " but it will be differ- 
ent when she has seen the right person." 

" Her heart has never been in the least touched, 
that you know of ? " said Mr Gascoigne. 

Mrs Davilow shook her head silently. " It was 
only last night she said to me, 'Mamma, I won- 
der how girls manage to fall in love. It is easy 
to make them do it in books. But men are too 
ridiculous.' " 


Mr Gascoigne laughed a little, and made no 
further remark on the subject. The next morn- 
ing at breakfast he said — ^ 

" How are your bruises, T?ex ?" 

" Oh, not very mellow ) cl, sir ; only beginning 
to turn a little." 

" You don't feel quite ready for a journey to 
Southampton ? " 

" Not quite," answered Eex, with his heart meta- 
phorically in his mouth. 

" Well, you can wait till to-morrow, and go to 
say good-bye to them at Offendene." 

Mrs Gascoigne, who now knew the whole affair, 
looked steadily at her coffee lest she also should 
begin to cry, as Anna was doing already. 

Mr Gascoigne felt that he was applying a sharp 
remedy to poor Eex's acute attack, but he believed 
it to be in the end the kindest. To let him know 
the hopelessness of his love from Gwendolen's own 
lips might be curative in more ways than one. 

" I can only be thankful that she doesn't care 
about him," said Mrs Gascoigne, when she joined 
her husband in his study. " There are things in 
Gwendolen I cannot reconcile myself to. My 
Anna is worth two of her, with all her beauty 
and talent. It looks so very ill in her that she 
will not help in the schools with Anna — not even 


in the Sunday-school. "What you or I advise is 
of no consequence to her ; and poor Fanny is com- 
pletely under her thumb. But I know you think 
better of her/' Mrs Gascoigne ended with a de- 
ferential hesitation. 

" Oh, my dear, there is no harm in the girl. It 
is only that she has a high spirit, and it will not 
do to hold the reins too tight. The point is, to get 
her well married. She has a little too much fire 
in her for her present life with her mother and 
sisters. It is natural and right that she should be 
married soon — not to a poor man, but one who 
can give her a fitting position." 

Presently Eex, with his arm in a sling, was on 
his two miles' walk to OfFendene. He was rather 
puzzled by the unconditional permission to see 
Gwendolen, but his father's real ground of action 
could not enter into his conjectures. If it had, 
he would first have thought it horribly cold- 
blooded, and then have disbelieved in his father's 

When he got to the house, everybody was there 
but Gwendolen. The four girls, hearing him 
speak in the hall, rushed out of the library, which 
was their schoolroom, and hung round him with 
compassionate inquiries about his arm. Mrs 
Davilow wanted to know exactly what had hap- 


pened, and where the blacksmith lived, that she 
might make him a present; while Miss Merry, 
who took a subdued and melancholy part in all 
family affairs, doubted whether it would not be 
giving too much encouragement to that kind of 
character. Kex had never found the family trouble- 
some before, but just now he wished them all away 
and Gwendolen there, and he was too uneasy for 
good-natured feigning. When at last he had said, 
"Where is Gwendolen?" and Mrs Davilow had 
told Alice to go and see if her sister were come 
down, adding, "I sent up her breakfast this 
morning. She needed a long rest," — Eex took 
the shortest way out of his endurance by saying, 
almost impatiently, "Aunt, I want to speak to 
Gwendolen — I want to see her alone." 

"Very well, dear; go into the drawing-room. 
I will send her there," said Mrs Davilow, who had 
observed that he was fond of being with Gwen- 
dolen, as was natural, but had not thought of this 
as having any bearing on the realities of life : it 
seemed merely part of the Christmas holidays 
which were spinning themselves out. 

Eex for his part felt that the realities of life 
were all hanging on this interview. He had to 
walk up and down the drawing-room in expecta- 
tion for nearly ten minutes — ample space for all 


imaginative fluctuations ; yet, strange to say, he 
was unvaryingly occupied in thinking what and 
how much he could do, when Gwendolen had 
accepted him, to satisfy his father that the engage- 
ment was the most prudent thing in the world, 
since it inspired him with double energy for 
work. He was to be a lawyer, and what reason 
was there why he should not rise as high as 
Eldon did ? He was forced to look at life in the 
light of his father's mind. 

But when the door opened and she whose pres- 
ence he was longing for entered, there came over 
him suddenly and mysteriously a state of tremor 
and distrust which he had never felt before. Miss 
Gwendolen, simple as she stood there, in her black 
silk, cut square about the round white pillar of 
her throat, a black band fastening her hair which 
streamed backwards in smooth silky abundance, 
seemed more queenly than usual. Perhaps it was 
that there was none of the latent fun and tricksi- 
ness which had always pierced in her greeting of 
Kex. How much of this was due to her presenti- 
ment from what he had said yesterday that he 
was going to talk of love ? How much from her 
desire to show regret about his accident ? Some- 
thing of both. But the wisdom of ages has hinted 
that there is a side of the bed which has a malign 


influence if you happen to get out on it ; and this 
accident befalls some charming persons rather 
frequently. Perhaps it had befallen Gwendolen 
this morning. The hastening of her toilet, the 
way in which Bugle used the brush, the quality 
of the shilling serial mistakenly written for her 
amusement, the probabilities of the coming day, 
and, in short, social institutions generally, were all 
objectionable to her. It was not that she was out 
of temper, but that the world was not equal to the 
demands of her fine organism. 

However it might be, Eex saw an awful majesty 
about her as she entered and put out her hand to 
him, without the least approach to a smile in eyes 
or mouth. The fun which had moved her in the 
evening had quite evaporated from the image of 
his accident, and the whole affair seemed stupid 
to her. But she said with perfect propriety, "I 
hope you are not much hurt, Eex ; I deserve that 
you should reproach me for your accident." 

" Not at all," said Eex, feeling the soul within 
him spreading itself like an attack of illness. 
"There is hardly anything the matter with me. 
I am so glad you had the pleasure: I would 
willingly pay for it by a tumble, only I was sorry 
to break the horse's knees." 

Gwendolen walked to the hearth and stood 


looking at the fire in the most inconvenient way 
for conversation, so that he could only get a side 
view of her face. 

" My father wants me to go to Southampton for 
the rest of the vacation/' said Kex, his barytone 
trembling a little. 

" Southampton 1 That's a stupid place to go to, 
isn't it ? " said Gwendolen, chilly. 

" It would be to me, because you would not be 


"Should you mind about my going away, 

"Of course. Every one is of consequence in 
this dreary country," said Gwendolen, curtly. 
The perception that poor Eex wanted to be tender 
made her curl up and harden like a sea-anemone 
at the touch of a finger. 

"Are you angry with me, Gwendolen? Why 
do you treat me in this way all at once ? " said 
Kex, flushing, and with more spirit in his voice, 
as if he too were capable of being angry. 

Gwendolen looked round at him and smiled. 
" Treat you ? Nonsense ! I am only rather cross. 
"Why did you come so very early? You must 
expect to find tempers in dishabille." 

" Be as cross with me as you like — only don't 


treat me with indifference," said Rex, imploringly. 
" All the happiness of my life depends on your 
loving me — if only a little — better than any one 

He tried to take her hand, but she hastily 
eluded his grasp and moved to the other end of 
the hearth, facing him. a 

" Pray don't make love to me ! I hate it." She 
looked at him fiercely. 

Kex turned pale and was silent, but could not 
take his eyes off her, and the impetus was not yet 
exhausted that made hers dart death at him. 
Gwendolen herself could not have foreseen that 
she should feel in this way. It was all a sudden, 
new experience to her. The day before she had 
been quite aware that her cousin was in love with 
her — she did not mind how much, so that he 
said nothing about it ; and if any one had asked 
her why she objected to love-making speeches, 
she would have said laughingly, " Oh, I am tired 
of them all in the books." But now the life of 
passion had begun negatively in her. She felt 
passionately averse to this volunteered love. 

To Eex at twenty the joy of life seemed at an 
end more absolutely than it can do to a man at 
forty. But before they had ceased to look at each 
other, he did speak again. 


" Is that the last word you have to say to me 
Gwendolen ? Will it always be so ? " 

She could not help seeing his wretchedness and 
feeling a little regret for the old Eex who had not 
offended her. Decisively, but yet with some re- 
turn of kindliness she said — 

"About making love? Yes. But I don't dis- 
like you for anything else." 

There was just a perceptible pause before he 
said a low "good-bye," and passed out of the 
room. Almost immediately after, she heard the 
heavy hall-door bang behind him. 

Mrs Davilow too had heard Rex's hasty depar- 
ture, and presently came into the drawing-room, 
where she found Gwendolen seated on the low 
couch, her face buried, and her hair falling over 
her figure like a garment. She was sobbing bit- 
terly. " My child, my child, what is it ? " cried 
the mother, who had never before seen her darling 
struck down in this way, and felt something of 
the alarmed anguish that women feel at the sight 
of overpowering sorrow in a strong man ; for this 
child had been her ruler. Sitting down by her 
with circling arms, she pressed her cheek against 
Gwendolen's head, and then tried to draw it up- 
ward. Gwendolen gave way, and letting her head 
rest against her mother, cried out sobbingly, " Oh 


mamma, what can become of my life? there is 
nothing worth living for ! " 

"Why, dear ? " said Mrs Davilow. Usually she 
herself had been rebuked by her daughter for in- 
voluntary signs of despair. 

" I shall never love anybody. I can't love 
people. I hate them." 

" The time will come, dear, the time will come." 

Gwendolen was more and more convulsed with 
sobbing •, but putting her arms round her mother's 
neck with an almost painful clinging, she said 
brokenly, " I can't bear any one to be very near 
me but you." 

Then the mother began to sob, for this spoiled 
child had never shown such dependence on her 
before : and so they clung to each other. 

VOL. I. 



What name doth Joy most borrow 
When life is fan-? 

" To-morrow." 

What name doth best fit Sorrow 
In young despair ? 

" To-morrow." 

There was a much more lasting trouble at the 
Eectory. Eexi arrived there only to throw him- 
self on his bed in a state of apparent apathy, 
unbroken till the next day, when it began to be 
interrupted by more positive signs of illness. 
Nothing could be said about his going to South- 
ampton : instead of that, the chief thought of his 
mother and Anna was how to tend this patient 
who did not want to be well, and from being the 
brightest, most grateful spirit in the household, 
was metamorphosed into an irresponsive dull- 
eyed creature who met all affectionate attempts 
with a murmur of " Let me alone." His father 
looked beyond the crisis, and believed it to be the 
shortest way out of an unlucky affair ; but he was 


sorry for the inevitable suffering, and went now 
and then -to sit by him in silence for a few 
minutes, parting with a gentle pressure of his 
hand on Eex's blank brow, and a " God bless you, 
my boy." Warham and the younger children 
used to peep round the edge of the door to see 
this incredible thing of their lively brother being 
laid low ; but fingers were immediately shaken at 
them to drive them back. The guardian who 
was always there was Anna, and her little hand 
was allowed to rest within her brother's, though 
he never gave it a welcoming pressure. Her 
soul was divided between anguish for Kex and 
reproach of Gwendolen. 

"Perhaps it is wicked of me, but I think I 
never can love her again," came as the recurrent 
burthen of poor little Anna's inward monody. 
And even Mrs Gascoigne had an angry feeling 
towards her niece which she could not refrain 
from expressing (apologetically) to her husband. 

" I know of course it is better, and we ought to 
be thankful that she is not in love with the poor 
boy ; but really, Henry, I think she is hard : she 
has the heart of a coquette. I cannot help think- 
ing that she must have made him believe some- 
thing, or the disappointment would not have taken 
hold of him in that way. And some blame at- 


taches to poor Fanny ; she is quite blind about 
that girl." 

Mr Gascoigne answered imperatively. " The 
less said on that point the better, Nancy. I 
ought to have been more awake myself. As to 
the boy, be thankful if nothing worse ever happens 
to him. Let the thing die out as quickly as pos- 
sible ; and especially with regard to Gwendolen — 
let it be as if it had never been." 

The Rector's dominant feeling was that there 
had been a great escape. Gwendolen in love with 
Eex in return would have made a much harder 
problem, the solution of which might have been 
taken out of his hands. But he had to go through 
some further difficulty. 

One fine morning Rex asked for his bath, and 
made his toilet as usual. Anna, full of excitement 
at this change, could do nothing but listen for 
his coming down, and at last hearing his step, ran 
to the foot of the stairs to meet him. For the first 
time he gave her a faint smile, but it looked so 
melancholy on his pale face that she could hardly 
help crying. 

" Nannie ! " he said, gently, taking her hand 
and leading her slowly along with him to the 
drawing-room. His mother was there, and,when she 
came to kiss him, he said, " What a plague I am ! " 


Then he sat still and looked out of the bow- 
window on the lawn and shrubs covered with 
hoar-frost, across which the sun was sending faint 
occasional gleams — something like that sad smile 
on Rex's face, Anna thought. He felt as if he 
had had a resurrection into a new world, and did 
not know what to do with himself there, the old 
interests being left behind. Anna sat near him, 
pretending to work, but really watching him with 
yearning looks. Beyond the garden hedge there 
was a road where waggons and carts sometimes 
went on field-work : a railed opening was made in 
the hedge, because the upland with its bordering 
wood and clump of ash-trees against the sky was 
a pretty sight. Presently there came along a 
waggon laden with timber ; the horses were strain- 
ing their grand muscles, and the driver having 
cracked his whip, ran along anxiously to guide the 
leader's head, fearing a swerve. Eex seemed to 
be shaken into attention, rose and looked till the 
last quivering trunk of the timber had disappeared, 
and then walked once or twice along the room. 
Mrs Gascoigne was no longer there, and when he 
came to sit down again, Anna, seeing a return of 
speech in her brother's eyes, could not resist the 
impulse to bring a little stool and seat herseK 
against his knee, looking up at him with an ex- 


pression which seemed to say, " Do speak to me." 
And he spoke. 

" I'll tell you what I am thinking of, Nannie. 
I will go to Canada, or somewhere of that sort." 
(Eex had not studied the character of our colonial 

" Oh Eex, not for always ! " 

" Yes ; to get my bread there. I should like to 
build a hut, and work hard at clearing, and have 
everything wild about me, and a great wide 

" And not take me with you ? " said Anna, the 
big tears coming fast. 

"How could I?" 

" I should like it better than anything ; and 
settlers go with their families. I would sooner go 
there than stay here in England. I could make 
the fires, and mend the clothes, and cook the 
food ; and I could learn how to make the bread 
before we went. It would be nicer than any- 
thing — like playing at life over again, as we used 
to do when we made our tent with the drugget, 
and had our little plates and dishes." 

" Father and mother would not let you go." 

" Yes, I think they would, when I explained 
everything. It would save money ; and papa 
would have more to bring up the boys with." 


There was further talk of the same practical 
kind at intervals, and it ended in Eex's being 
obliged to consent that Anna should go with him 
when he spoke to his father on the subject. 

Of course it was when the Eector was alone in 
his study. Their mother would become recon- 
ciled to whatever he decided on; but mentioned 
to her first, the question would have distressed 

" WeU, my children!" said Mr Gascoigne, cheer- 
fully, as they entered. It was a comfort to see 
Rex about again. 

" May we sit down with you a little, papa ? " 
said Anna. " Eex has something to say." 

" With all my heart." 

It was a noticeable group that these three crea- 
tures made, each of them with a face of the same 
structural type — the straight brow, the nose sud- 
denly straightened from an intention of being aqui- 
line, the short upper lip, the short but strong and 
well-hung chin : there was even the same tone of 
complexion and set of the eye. The grey-haired 
father was at once massive and keen - looking ; 
there was a perpendicular line in his brow which 
when he spoke with any force of interest deep- 
ened; and the habit of ruling gave him an air 
of reserved authoritativeness. Rex would have 


seemed a vision of the father's youth, if it had 
been possible to imagine Mr Gascoigne without 
distinct plans and without command, smitten 
with a heart sorrow, and having no more notion 
of concealment than a sick animal; and Anna 
was a tiny copy of Kex, with hair drawn back 
and knotted, her face following his in its changes 
of expression, as if they had one soul between 

" You know all about what has upset me, 
father," Kex began, and Mr Gascoigne nodded. 

" I am quite done up for life in this part of the 
world. I am sure it will be no use my going 
back to Oxford. I couldn't do any reading. I 
should fail, and cause you expense for nothing. 
I want to have your consent to take another 
course, sir." 

Mr Gascoigne nodded more slowly, the perpen- 
dicular line on his brow deepened, and Anna's 
trembling increased. 

" If you would allow me a small outfit, I should 
like to go to the colonies and work on the land 
there." Rex thought the vagueness of the phrase 
prudential ; " the colonies " necessarily embrac- 
ing more advantages, and being less capable of 
being rebutted on a single ground than any par- 
ticular settlement. 


" Oh, and with me, papa," said Anna, not bear- 
ing to be left out from the proposal even tempo- 
rarily. " Kex would want some one to take care 
of him, you know — some one to keep house. And 
we shall never, either of us, be married. And I 
should cost nothing, and I should be so happy. 
I know it would be hard to leave you and 
mamma; but there are all the others to bring 
up, and we two should be no trouble to you any 

Anna had risen from her seat, and used the 
feminine argument of going closer to her papa 
as she spoke. He did not smile, but he drew her 
on his knee and held her there, as if to put 
her gently out of the question while he spoke 
to Kex. 

" You will admit that my experience gives me 
some power of judging for you, and that I can 
probably guide you in practical matters better 
than you can guide yourself." 

Eex was obliged to say, " Yes, sir." 

" And perhaps you wiU admit — though I don't 
wish to press that point — that you are bound in 
duty to consider my judgment and wishes?" 

" I have never yet placed myself in opposition 
to you, sir." Kex in his secret soul could not 
feel that he was bound not to go to the colonies, 


but to go to Oxford again — which was the point 
in question. 

" But you will do so if you persist in setting 
your mind towards a rash and foolish procedure, 
and deafening yourself to considerations which 
my experience of life assures me of. You think, 
I suppose, that you have had a shock which has 
changed all your inclinations, stupefied your 
brains, unfitted you for anything but manual 
labour, and given you a dislike to society? Is 
that what you believe ? " 

" Something like that. I shall never be up to 
the sort of work 1 must do to live in this part of 
the world. I have not the spirit for it. I shall 
never be the same again. And without any dis- 
respect to you, father, I think a young fellow 
should be allowed to choose his way of life, if he 
does nobody any harm. There are plenty to stay 
at home, and those who like might be allowed to 
go where there are empty places." 

" But suppose I am convinced on good evi- 
dence — as I am — that this state of mind of yours 
is transient, and that if you went off as you pro- 
pose, you would by-and-by repent, and feel that 
you had let yourself slip back from the point you 
have been gaining by your education till now? 
Have you not strength of mind enough to see that 


you had better act on my assurance for a time, 
and test it ? In my opinion, so far from agreeing 
with you that you should be free to turn yourself 
into a colonist and work in your shirt-sleeves with 
spade and hatchet — in my opinion you have no 
right whatever to expatriate yourself until you 
have honestly endeavoured to turn to account the 
education you have received here. I say nothing 
of the grief to your mother and me." 

" I'm very sorry ; but what can I do ? I can't 
study — ^that's certain/' said Kex. 

"Not just now, perhaps. You will have to 
miss a term. I have made arrangements for you 
— how you are to spend the next two months. 
But I confess I am disappointed in you, Eex. I 
thought you had more sense than to take up such 
ideas — to suppose that because you have fallen 
into a very common trouble, such as most men 
have to go through, you are loosened from all 
bonds of duty — just as if your brain had softened 
and you were no longer a responsible being." 

What could Eex say ? Inwardly he was in a 
state of rebellion, but he had no arguments to 
meet his father's ; and while he was feeling, in 
spite of anything that might be said, that he 
should like to go off to " the colonies " to-mor- 
row, it lay in a deep fold of his consciousness 


that he ought to feel — if he had been a better 
fellow he would have felt — more about his old 
ties. This is the sort of faith we live by in our 

Eex got up from his seat, as if he held the con- 
ference to be at an end. "You assent to my 
arrangement then?" said Mr Gascoigne, with that 
distinct resolution of tone which seems to hold 
one in a vice. 

There was a little pause before Rex answered, 
"I'll try what I can do, sir. I can't promise." 
His thought was, that trying would be of no use. 

Her father kept Anna, holding her fast, though 
she wanted to follow Eex. " Oh papa," she said, 
the tears coming with her words when the door 
had closed ; " it is very hard for him. Doesn't he 
look ill?" 

"Yes, but he will soon be better; it will all 
blow over. And now, Anna, be as quiet as a 
mouse about it all. Never let it be mentioned 
when he is gone." 

"No, papa. But I would not be like Gwen- 
dolen for anything — to have people fall in love 
with me so. It is very dreadful." 

Anna dared not say that she was disappointed 
at not being allowed to go to the colonies with 
Eex; but that was her secret feeling, and she 


often afterwards went inwardly over the whole 
affair, saying to herself, " I should have done with 
going out, and gloves, and crinoline, and having 
to talk when I am taken to dinner — and all 

I like to mark the time, and connect the course 
of individual lives with the historic stream, for all 
classes of thinkers. This was the period when 
the broadening of gauge in crinolines seemed to 
demand an agitation for the general enlargement 
of churches, ball-rooms, and vehicles. But Anna 
Gascoigne's figure would only allow the size of 
skirt manufactured for young ladies of fourteen. 



I'll tell thee, Bcrthold, what men's hopes are like : 
A silly child, that, quivering with joy. 
Would cast its little mimic fishing-line 
Baited with loadstone for a bowl of toys 
In the salt ocean. 

Eight montlis after the arrival of the family at 
Offendene, that is to say in the end of the follow- 
ing June, a rumour was spread in the neighbour- 
hood which to many persons was matter of excit- 
ing interest. It had no reference to the results of 
the American war, but it was one which touched 
all classes within a certain circuit round Wan- 
cester: the corn-factors, the brewers, the horse- 
dealers, and saddlers, all held it a laudable 
thing, and one which was to be rejoiced in on 
abstract grounds, as showing the value of an 
aristocracy in a free country like England; the 
blacksmith in the hamlet of Diplow felt that a 
good time had come round ; the wives of labouring 
men hoped their nimble boys of ten or twelve 


would be taken into employ by the gentlemen in 
livery ; and the farmers about Diplow admitted, 
with a tincture of bitterness and reserve, that a 
man might now again perhaps have an easier 
market or exchange for a rick of old hay or a 
waggon-load of straw. If such were the hopes 
of low persons not in society, it may be easily 
inferred that their betters had better reasons for 
satisfaction, probably connected with the pleasures 
of life rather than its business. Marriage, how- 
ever, must be considered as coming under both 
heads ; and just as when a visit of Majesty is an- 
nounced, the dream of knighthood or a baronetcy 
is to be found under various municipal nightcaps, 
so the news in question raised a floating indeter- 
minate vision of marriage in several well-bred 

The news was that Diplow Hall, Sir Hugo 
Mallinger's place, which had for a couple of 
years turned its white window-shutters in a pain- 
ftdly wall-eyed manner on its fine elms and 
beeches, its lilied pool and grassy acres specked 
with deer, was being prepared for a tenant, and 
was for the rest of the summer and through the 
hunting season to be inhabited in a fitting style 
both as to house and stable. But not by Sir Hugo 
himself : by his nephew Mr Mallinger Grandcourt, 


who was presumptive heir to the baronetcy, his 
uncle's marriage having produced nothing but 
girls. Nor was this the only contingency with 
which fortune flattered young Grandcourt, as he 
was pleasantly called ; for while the chance of the 
baronetcy came through his father, his mother had 
given a baronial streak to his blood, so that if 
certain intervening persons slightly painted in the 
middle distance died, he would become a baron 
and peer of this realm. 

It is the uneven allotment of nature that the 
male bird alone has the tuft, but we have not yet 
followed the advice of hasty philosophers who 
would have us copy nature entirely in these mat- 
ters ; and if Mr Mallinger Grandcourt became a 
baronet or a peer, his wife would share the title 
— which in addition to his actual fortune was 
certainly a reason why that wife, being at present 
unchosen, should be thought of by more than one 
person with sympathetic interest as a woman sure 
to be well provided for. 

Some readers of this history will doubtless re- 
gard it as incredible that people should construct 
matrimonial prospects on the mere report that 
a bachelor of good fortune and possibilities was 
coming within reach, and will reject the statement 
as a mere outflow of gall : they will aver that 


neither they nor their first cousins have minds so 
unbridled; and that in fact this is not human 
nature, which would know that such speculations 
might turn out to be fallacious, and would there- 
fore not entertain them. But, let it be observed, 
nothing is here narrated of human nature gene- 
rally : the history in its present stage concerns 
only a few people in a corner of Wessex — whose 
reputation, however, was unimpeached, and who, 
I am in the proud position of being able to state, 
were all on visiting terms with persons of rank. 

There were the Arrowpoints, for example, in 
their beautiful place at Quetcham : no one could 
attribute sordid views in relation to their daughter's 
marriage to parents who could leave her at least 
half a millon ; but having affectionate anxieties 
about their Catherine's position (she having res- 
olutely refused Lord Slogan, an unexceptionable 
Irish peer, whose estate wanted nothing but drain- 
age and population), they wondered, perhaps from 
something more than a charitable impulse, whether 
Mr Grandcourt was good-looking, of sound consti- 
tution, virtuous or at least reformed, and if liberal- 
conservative, not too liberal - conservative ; and 
without wishing anybodj to die, thought his suc- 
cession to the title an event to be desired. 

If the Arrowpoints had such ruminations, it is 
VOL. I. L 


the less surprising that they were stimulated in 
Mr Gascoigne, who for being a clergyman was not 
the less subject to the anxieties of a parent and 
guardian ; and we have seen how both he and Mrs 
Gascoigne might by this time have come to feel 
that he was overcharged with the management of 
young creatures who were hardly to be held in 
with bit or bridle, or any sort of metaphor that 
would stand for judicious advice. 

Naturally, people did not tell each other all 
they felt and thought about young Grandcourt's 
advent: on no subject is this openness found pru- 
dentially practicable — not even on the generation 
of acids, or the destination of the fixed stars ; for 
either your contemporary with a mind turned 
towards the same subjects may find your ideas in- 
genious and forestall you in applying them, or he 
may have other views on acids and fixed stars, and 
think ill of you in consequence. Mr Gascoigne 
did not ask Mr Arrowpoint if he had any trust- 
worthy source of information about Grandcourt 
considered as a husband for a charming girl ; nor 
did Mrs Arrowpoint observe to Mrs Davilow that 
if the possible peer sought a wife in the neigh- 
bourhood of Diplow, the only reasonable expecta- 
tion was that he would offer his hand to Cather- 
ine, who, however, would not accept him unless he 


were in all respects fitted to secure her happiness. 
Indeed, even to his wife the Kector was silent as 
to the contemplation of any matrimonial result, 
from the probability that Mr Grandcourt would 
see Gwendolen at the next Archery Meeting; 
though Mrs Gascoigne's mind was very likely 
still more active in the same direction. She had 
said interjectionally to her sister, "It would be 
a mercy, Fanny, if that girl were well married !" 
to which Mrs Davilow, discerning some criticism 
of her darling in the fervour of that wish, had 
not chosen to make any audible reply, though she 
had said inwardly, " You will not get her to marry 
for your pleasure ; " the mild mother becoming 
rather saucy when she identified herself with her 

To her husband Mrs Gascoigne said, " I hear 
Mr Grandcourt has two places of his own, but 
he comes to Diplow for the hunting. It is to be 
hoped he will set a good example in the neigh- 
bourhood. Have you heard what sort of young 
man he is, Henry V 

Mr Gascoigne had not heard ; at least, if his 
male acquaintances had gossiped in his hearing, 
he was not disposed to repeat their gossip, or give 
it any emphasis in his own mind. He held it 
futile, even if it had been becoming, to show any 


curiosity as to the past of a young man whose 
birth, wealth, and consequent leisure made many 
habits venial which under other circumstances 
would have been inexcusable. Whatever Grand- 
court had done, he had not ruined himself; and 
it is well known that in gambling, for example, 
whether of the business or holiday sort, a man 
who has the strength of mind to leave off when 
he has only ruined others, is a reformed character. 
This is an illustration merely : Mr Gascoigne had 
not heard that Grandcourt had been a gambler ; 
and we can hardly pronounce him singular in 
feeling that a landed proprietor with a mixture of 
noble blood in his veins was not to be an object 
of suspicious inquiry like a reformed character 
who offers himself as your butler or footman. 
Eeformation, where a man can afford to do with- 
out it, can hardly be other than genuine. More- 
over, it was not certain on any showing hitherto 
that Mr Grandcourt had needed reformation more 
than other young men in the ripe youth of five- 
and-thirty ; and, at any rate, the significance of 
what he had been must be determined by what 
he actually was. 

Mrs Davilow, too, although she would not re- 
spond to her sister's pregnant remark, could not 
be inwardly indifferent to an event that might 


promise a brillant lot for Gwendolen. A little 
speculation on 'what may be' comes naturally, 
without encouragement — comes inevitably in the 
form of images, when unknown persons are men- 
tioned ; and Mr Grandcourt's name raised in Mrs 
Davilow's mind first of all the picture of a hand- 
some, accomplished, excellent young man whom 
she would be satisfied with as a husband for her 
daughter; t)ut then came the further specula- 
tion — would Gwendolen be satisfied with him? 
There was no knowing what would meet that 
girl's taste or touch her affections — it might be 
something else than excellence; and thus the 
image of the perfect suitor gave way before a 
fluctuating combination of qualities that might be 
imagined to win Gwendolen's heart. In the dif- 
ficulty of arriving at the particular combination 
which would insure that result, the mother even 
said to herself, " It would not signify about her 
being in love, if she would only accept the right 
person." For whatever marriage had been for 
herself, how could she the less desire it for her 
daughter? The difference her own misfortunes 
made was, that she never dared to dwell much 
to Gwendolen on the desirableness of marriage, 
dreading an answer something like that of the 
future Madame Koland, when her gentle mother 


urging the acceptance of a suitor, said, " Tu seras 
heureuse, ma ch^re." " Oui, maman, comme toi." 

In relation to the problematic Mr Grandcourt 
least of all would Mrs Davilow have willingly let 
fall a hint of the aerial castle-building which she 
had the good taste to be ashamed of; for such a 
hint was likely enough to give an adverse poise 
to Gwendolen's own thought, and make her 
detest the desirable husband beforehand. Since 
that scene after poor Eex's farewell visit, the 
mother had felt a new sense of peril in touching 
the mystery of her child's feeling, and in rashly 
determining what was her welfare : only she 
could think of welfare in no other shape than 

The discussion of the dress that Gwendolen was 
to wear at the Archery Meeting was a relevant 
topic, however; and when it had been decided that 
as a touch of colour on her white cashmere, nothinsf, 
for her complexion, was comparable to pale green 
— a feather which she was trying in her hat before 
the looking-glass having settled the question — 
Mrs Davilow felt her ears tingle when Gwendolen, 
suddenly throwing herself into the attitude of 
drawing her bow, said with a look of comic enjoy- 
ment — 

" How I pity all the other girls at the Archery 


MeetiDg — all thinking of Mr Grandcourt ! And 
they have not a shadow of a chance." 

Mrs Davilow had not presence of mind to 
answer immediately, and Gwendolen turned 
quickly round towards her saying, wickedly — 

" Now you know they have not, mamma. You 
and my uncle and aunt — you all intend him to 
fall in love with me." 

Mrs Davilow, piqued into a little stratagem, 
said, " Oh, my dear, that is not so certain. Miss 
Arrowpoint has charms which you have not," 

" I know. But they demand thought. My 
arrow will pierce him before he has time for 
thought. He will declare himself my slave — I 
shall send him round the world to bring me 
back the wedding-ring of a happy woman — in 
the mean time all the men who are between him 
and the title will die of different diseases — he 
will come back Lord Grandcourt — but without 
the ring — and fall at my feet. I shall laugh at 
him — he will rise in resentment — I shall laugh 
more — he will call for his steed and ride to 
Quetcham, where he will find Miss Arrowpoint 
just married to a needy musician, Mrs Arrowpoint 
tearing her cap off, and Mr Arrowpoint standing 
by. Exit Lord Grandcourt, who returns to 
Diplow, and, like M. Jabot, change de linge" 


Was ever any young witch like this ? You 
thought of hiding things from her — sat upon your 
secret and looked innocent, and all the while she 
knew by the corner of your eye that it was exactly 
five pounds ten you were sitting on ! As well 
turn the key to keep out the damp ! It was 
probable that by dint of divination she already 
knew more than any one else did of Mr Grand- 
court. That idea in Mrs Davilow's mind prompted 
the sort of question which often comes without 
any other apparent reason than the faculty of 
speech and the not knowing what to do with it. 

" Why, what kind of man do you imagine him 
to be, Gwendolen ? " 

" Let me see ! " said the witch, putting her fore- 
finger to her lips with a little frown, and then 
stretching out the finger with decision. " Short — 
just above my shoulder — trying to make himself 
tall by turning up his mustache and keeping his 
beard long — a glass in his right eye to give him 
an air of distinction — a strong opinion about his 
waistcoat, but uncertain and trimming about the 
weather, on which he will try to draw me out. 
He will stare at me all the while, and the glass in 
his eye will cause him to make horrible faces, 
especially when he smiles in a flattering way. I 
shall cast down my eyes in consequence, and he 


will perceive that I am not indifferent to his 
attentions. I shall dream that night that I am 
looking at the extraordinary face of a magnified 
insect — and the next morning he will make me 
an offer of his hand ; the sequel as before.'' 

" That is a portrait of some one you have seen 
already, Gwen. Mr Grandcourt may be a delight- 
ful young man for what you know." 

" Oh yes," said Gwendolen, with a high note of 
careless admission, taking off her best hat and 
turning it round on her hand contemplatively. 
" I wonder what sort of behaviour a delightful 
young man would have ! " Then, with a merry 
change of face, " I know he would have hunters 
and racers, and a London house and two country- 
houses, — one with battlements and another with 
a veranda. And I feel sure that with a little mur- 
dering he might get a title." 

The irony of this speech was of the doubtful 
sort that has some genuine belief mixed up with 
it. Poor Mrs Davilow felt uncomfortable under 
it, her own meanings being usually literal and in 
intention innocent ; and she said, with a distressed 
brow — 

"Don't talk in that way, child, for heaven's 
sake ! you do read such books — they give you 
such ideas of everything. I declare when your 


aunt and I were your age we knew nothing about 
wickedness. I think it was better so." 

" Why did you not bring me up in that way, 
mamma ? " said Gwendolen. But immediately 
perceiving in the crushed look and rising sob that 
she had given a deep wound, she tossed down her 
hat and knelt at her mother's feet, crying — 

" Mamma, mamma ! I was only speaking in fun. 
I meant nothing." 

" How could I, Gwendolen ? " said poor Mrs 
Davilow, unable to hear the retractation, and 
sobbing violently while she made the effort to 
speak. " Your will was always too strong for me 
— if everything else had been different." 

This disjointed logic was intelligible enough to 
the daughter. " Dear mamma, I don't find fault 
with you — I love you," said Gwendolen, really 
compunctious. " How can you help what I am ? 
Besides, I am very charming. Come, now." Here 
Gwendolen with her handkerchief gently rubbed 
away her mother's tears. " Keally — I am contented 
with myself I like myself better than I should 
have liked my aunt and you. How dreadfully 
dull you must have been ! " 

Such tender cajolery served to quiet the 
mother, as it had often done before after like 
collisions. Not that the collisions had often been 


repeated at the same point ; for in the memory of 
both they left an association of dread with the par- 
ticular topics which had occasioned them : Gwen- 
dolen dreaded the nnpleasant sense of compunc- 
tion towards her mother, which was the nearest 
approach to self-condemnation and self-distrust 
that she had known; and Mrs Davilow's timid 
maternal conscience dreaded whatever had brought 
on the slightest hint of reproach. Hence, after 
this little scene, the two concurred in excluding 
Mr Grandcourt from their conversation. 

When Mr Gascoigne once or twice referred to 
him, Mrs Davilow feared lest Gwendolen should 
betray some of her alarming keen-sightedness 
about what was probably in her uncle's mind ; 
but the fear was not justified. Gwendolen knew 
certain differences in the characters with which 
she was concerned as birds know climate and 
weather ; and, for the very reason that she was 
determined to evade her uncle's control, she was 
determined not to clash with him. The good 
understanding between them was much fostered 
by their enjoyment of archery together : Mr Gas- 
coigne, as one of the best bowmen in Wessex, 
was gratified to find the elements of like skill 
in his niece ; and Gwendolen was the more 
careful not to lose the shelter of his fatherly in- 


diligence, because since the trouble with Eex both 
Mrs Gascoigne and Anna had been unable to hide 
what she felt to be a very unreasonable alienation 
from her. Towards Anna she took some pains 
to behave with a regretful affectionateness ; but 
neither of them dared to mention Eex's name, and 
Anna, to whom the thought of him was part of 
the air she breathed, was ill at ease with the 
lively cousin who had ruined his happiness. She 
tried dutifully to repress any sign of her changed 
feeling ; but who in pain can imitate the glance 
and hand-touch of pleasure ? 

This unfair resentment had rather a hardening 
effect on Gwendolen, and threw her into a more 
defiant temper. Her uncle too might be offended 
if she refused the next person who fell in love 
with her ; and one day when that idea was in her 
mind she said — 

" Mamma, I see now why girls are glad to be 
married — to escape being expected to please every- 
body but themselves." 

Happily, Mr Middleton was gone without hav- 
ing made any avowal ; and notwithstanding the 
admiration for the handsome Miss Harleth, extend- 
ing perhaps over thirty square miles in a part of 
Wessex well studded with families whose mem- 
bers included^ several disengaged young men, each 


glad to seat himself by the lively girl with whom 
it was so easy to get on in conversation, — not- 
withstanding these grounds for arguing that 
Gwendolen was likely to have other suitors more 
expKcit than the cautious curate, the fact was 
not so. 

Care has been taken not only that the trees 
should not sweep the stars down, but also that 
every man who admires a fair girl should not be 
enamoured of her, and even that every man who 
is enamoured should not necessarily declare him- 
seK. There are various refined shapes in which 
the price of corn, known to be a potent cause in 
this relation, might, if inquired into, show why a 
young lady, perfect in person, accomplishments, 
and costume, has not the trouble of rejecting 
many oiOfers ; and Nature's order is certainly be- 
nignant in not obliging us one and all to be 
desperately in love with the most admirable mor- 
tal we have ever seen. Gwendolen, we know, 
was far from holding that supremacy in the minds 
of all observers. Besides, it was but a poor eight 
months since she had come to Offendene, and some 
inclinations become manifest slowly, like the sun- 
ward creeping of plants. 

In face of this fact that not one of the eligible 
young men already in the neighbourhood had 


made Gwendolen an ojffer, why should Mr Grand- 
court be thought of as likely to do what they had 
left undone ? 

Perhaps because he was thought of as still 
more eligible ; since a great deal of what passes 
for likelihood in the world is simply the reflex of 
a wish. Mr and Mrs Arrowpoint, for example, 
having no anxiety that Miss Harleth should 
make a brilliant marriage, had quite a different 
likelihood in their minds. 



1st Gent. What woman should be ? Sir, consult the taste 
Of marriageable men. This planet's store 
In iron, cotton, wool, or chemicals- 
All matter rendered to our plastic skill. 
Is wrought in shapes responsive to demand : 
The market's pulse makes index high or low. 
By rule sublime. Our daughters must be wives. 
And to be wives must be what men will choose : 
Men's taste is woman's test. You mark the phrase ? 
'Tis good, I think? — the sense well winged and poised 
With t's and s's. 

2d Gent. Nay, but turn it round : 

Give us the test of taste. A fine menu- 
Is it to-day what Roman epicures 
Insisted that a gentleman must eat 
To earn the dignity of dining well ? 

Bkackenshaw Park, where tlie Archery Meeting 
was held, looked out from its gentle heights far 
over the neighbouring valley to the outlying 
eastern downs and the broad slow rise of culti- 
vated country hanging like a vast curtain towards 
the west. The castle, which stood on the highest 
platform of the clustered hills, was built of rough- 
hewn limestone, full of lights and shadows made 
by the dark dust of lichens and the washings of 


the rain. Masses of beech and fir sheltered it on 
the north, and spread down here and there along 
the green slopes like flocks seeking the water 
which gleamed below. The archery-ground was 
a carefully-kept enclosure on a bit of table-land 
at the farthest end of the park, protected towards 
the south-west by tall elms and a thick screen of 
hollies, which kept the gravel walk and the bit of 
newly-mown turf where the targets were placed 
in agreeable afternoon shade. The Archery Hall 
with an arcade in front showed like a white tem- 
ple against the greenery on the northern side. 

What could make a better background for the 
flower-groups of ladies, moving and bowing and 
turning their necks as it would become the lei- 
surely lilies to do if they took to locomotion? 
The sounds too were very pleasant to hear, even 
when the military band from Wancester ceased to 
play: musical laughs in all the registers and a 
harmony of happy friendly speeches, now rising 
towards mild excitement, now sinking to an agree- 
able murmur. 

No open-air amusement could be much freer 
from those noisy, crowding conditions which spoil 
most modern pleasures ; no Archery Meeting could 
be more select, the number of friends accompany- 
ing the members being restricted by an award of 


tickets, so as to keep the maximum within the 
limits of convenience for the dinner and ball to 
be held in the castle. Within the enclosure no 
plebeian spectators were admitted except Lord 
Brackenshaw's tenants and their families, and of 
these it was chiefly the feminine members who 
used the privilege, bringing their little boys and 
girls or younger brothers and sisters. The males 
among them relieved the insipidity of the enter- 
tainment by imaginative betting, in which the 
stake was "anything you like," on their favourite 
archers ; but the young maidens, having a different 
principle of discrimination, were considering which 
of those sweetly-dressed ladies they would choose 
to be, if the choice were allowed them. Probably 
the form these rural souls would most have striven 
for as a tabernacle was some other than Gwen- 
dolen's — one with more pink in her cheeks and 
hair of the most fashionable yellow ; but among 
the male judges in the ranks immediately sur- 
rounding her there was unusual unanimity in 
pronouncing her the finest girl present. 

No wonder she enjoyed her existence on that 
July day. Pre-eminence is sweet to those who 
love it, even under mediocre circumstances : per- 
haps it is not quite mythical that a slave has been 
proud to be bought first ; and probably a baru- 



door fowl on sale, though he may not have under- 
stood himself to be called the best of a bad lot, 
may have a self-informed consciousness of his 
relative importance, and strut consoled. But for 
complete enjoyment the outward and the inward 
must concur. And that concurrence was happen- 
ing to Gwendolen. 

Who can deny that bows and arrows are among 
the prettiest weapons in the world for feminine 
forms to play with ? They prompt attitudes full 
of grace and power, where that fine concentration 
of energy seen in all marksmanship, is freed from 
associations of bloodshed. The time-honoured 
British resource of " killing something " is no 
longer carried on with bow and quiver; bands 
defending their passes against an invading nation 
fight under another sort of shade than a cloud of 
arrows ; and poisoned darts are harmless survivals 
either in rhetoric or in regions comfortably remote. 
Archery has no ugly smell of brimstone ; breaks 
nobody's shins, breeds no athletic monsters ; its 
only danger is that of failing, which for generous 
blood is enough to mould skilful action. And 
among the Brackenshaw archers the prizes were 
all of the nobler symbolic kind : not property to 
be carried off in a parcel, degrading honour into 
gain ; but the gold arrow and the silver, the gold 


star and the silver, to be worn for a time in sign 
of achievement and then transferred to the next 
who did excellently. These signs of pre-eminence 
had the virtue of wreaths without their incon- 
veniences, which might have produced a melan- 
choly effect in the heat of the ball-room. Alto- 
gether the Brackenshaw Archery Club was an 
institution framed with good taste, so as not to 
have by necessity any ridiculous incidents. 

And to-day all incalculable elements were in its 
favour. There was mild warmth, and no wind to 
disturb either hair or drapery or the course of the 
arrow ; all skilful preparation had fair play, and 
when there was a general march to extract the 
arrows, the promenade of joyous young creatures 
in light speech and laughter, the graceful move- 
ment in common towards a common object, was a 
show worth looking at. Here Gwendolen seemed 
a Calypso among her nymphs. It was in her 
attitudes and movements that every one was 
obliged to admit her surpassing charm. 

"That girl is like a high-mettled racer," said 
Lord Brackenshaw to young Clintock, one of the 
invited spectators. 

" First chop ! tremendously pretty too," said the 
elegant Grecian, who had been paying her assidu- 
ous attention ; " I never saw her look better." 


Perhaps she had never looked so well. Her 
face was beaming with young pleasure in which 
there were no malign rays of discontent ; for being 
satisfied with her own chances, she felt kindly 
towards everybody and was satisfied with the uni- 
verse. Not to have the highest distinction in rank, 
not to be marked out as an heiress, like Miss Arrow- 
point, gave an added triumph in eclipsing those 
advantages. For personal recommendation she 
would not have cared to change the family group 
accompanying her for any other: her mamma's 
appearance would have suited an amiable duchess ; 
her uncle and aunt Gascoigne with Anna made 
equally gratifying figures in their way ; and Gwen- 
dolen was too full of joyous belief in herself to 
feel in the least jealous though Miss Arrowpoint 
was one of the best archeresses. 

Even the reappearance of the formidable Herr 
Klesmer, which caused some surprise in the rest 
of the company, seemed only to fall in with 
Gwendolen's inclination to be amused. Short of 
Apollo himself, what great musical maestro could 
make a good figure at an archery meeting ? There 
was a very satirical light in Gwendolen's eyes as 
she looked towards the Arrowpoint party on their 
first entrance, when the contrast between Klesmer 
and the average group of English county people 


seemed at its utmost intensity in the close neigh- 
bourhood of his hosts — or patrons, as Mrs Ar- 
rowpoint would have liked to hear them called, 
that she might deny the possibility of any longer 
patronising genius, its royalty being universally 
acknowledged. The contrast might have amused 
a graver personage than Gwendolen. We English 
are a miscellaneous people, and any chance fifty 
of us will present many varieties of animal archi- 
tecture or facial ornament; but it must be ad- 
mitted that our prevailing expression is not that 
of a lively, impassioned race, preoccupied with the 
ideal and carrying the real as a mere make- weight. 
The strong point of the English gentleman pure 
is the easy style of his figure and clothing ; he 
objects to marked ins and outs in his costume, 
and he also objects to looking inspired. 

Fancy an assemblage where the men had all 
that ordinary stamp of the well-bred Englishman, 
watching the entrance of Herr Klesmer — his 
mane of hair floating backward in massive incon- 
sistency with the chimney-pot hat, which had the 
look of having been put on for a joke above his 
pronounced but well-modelled features and power- 
ful clear-shaven mouth and chin ; his tall thin 
figure clad in a way which, not being strictly 
English, was all the worse for its apparent emphasis 


of intention. Draped in a loose garment with a 
Florentine berretta on his head, he would have 
been fit to stand by the side of Leonardo da Vinci ; 
but how when he presented himself in trousers 
which were not what English feeling demanded 
about the knees ? — and when the fire that showed 
itself in his glances and the movements of his 
head, as he looked round him with curiosity, was 
turned into comedy by a hat which ruled that 
mankind should have well-cropped hair and a 
staid demeanour, such, for example, as Mr Arrow- 
point's, whose nullity of face and perfect tailor- 
ing might pass everywhere without ridicule ? One 
sees why it is often better for greatness to be 
dead, and to have got rid of the outward man. 

Many present knew Klesmer, or knew of him ; 
but they had only seen him on candle-light occa- 
sions when he appeared simply as a musician, and 
he had not yet that supreme, world-wide celebrity 
which makes an artist great to the most ordinary 
people by their knowledge of his great expensive- 
ness. It was literally a new light for them to 
see him in — presented unexpectedly on this July 
afternoon in an exclusive society: some were 
inclined to laugh, others felt a little disgust at 
the want of judgment shown by the Arrowpoints 
in this use of an introductory card. 


" What extreme guys those artistic fellows 
usually are ! " said young Clintock to Gwendolen. 
" Do look at the figure he cuts, bowing with his 
hand on his heart to Lady Brackenshaw — and Mrs 
Arrowpoint's feather just reaching his shoulder." 

" You are one of the profane," said Gwendolen. 
"You are blind to the majesty of genius. Herr 
Klesmer smites me with awe ; I feel crushed in 
his presence ; my courage all oozes from me." 

" Ah, you understand all about his music." 

"No, indeed," said Gwendolen, with a light 
laugh ; " it is he who understands all about mine 
and thinks it pitiable." Klesmer's verdict on her 
singing had been an easier joke to her since he 
had been struck by her plastik. 

" It is not addressed to the ears of the future, 
I suppose. Fm glad of that : it suits mine." 

" Oh, you are very kind. But how remarkably 
well Miss Arrowpoint looks to-day ! She would 
make quite a fine picture in that gold-coloured 

" Too splendid, don't you think ? " 

"Well, perhaps a little too symbolical — too 
much like the figure of Wealth in an allegory." 

This speech of Gwendolen's had rather a 
malicious sound, but it was not really more than 
a bubble of fun. She did not wish Miss Arrow- 


point or any one else to be out of the way, believing 
in her own good fortune even more than in her 
skill. The belief in both naturally grew stronger 
as the shooting went on, for she promised to 
achieve one of the best scores — a success which 
astonished every one in a new member ; and to 
Gwendolen's temperament one success determined 
another. She trod on air, and all things pleasant 
seemed possible. The hour was enough for her, 
and she was not obliged to think what she should 
do next to keep her life at the due pitch. 

" How does the scoring stand, I wonder ? " 
said Lady Brackenshaw, a gracious personage who, 
adorned with two fair little girls and a boy of 
stout make, sat as lady paramount. Her lord had 
come up to her in one of the intervals of shooting. 
" It seems to me that Miss Harleth is likely to 
win the gold arrow." 

" Gad, I think she will, if she carries it on ! she 
is running Juliet Fenn hard. It is wonderful for 
one in her first year. Catherine is not up to her 
usual mark/' continued his lordship, turning to 
the heiress's mother who sat near. " But she got 
the gold arrow last time. And there's a luck even 
in these games of skill. That's better. It gives 
the hinder ones a chance." 

" Catherine will be very glad for others to win/' 


said Mrs Arrowpoint, "she is so magnanimous. 
It was entirely her considerateness that made us 
bring Herr Klesmer instead of Canon Stopley, who 
had expressed a wish to come. For her own 
pleasure, I am sure she would rather have brought 
the Canon ; but she is always thinking of others. 
I told her it was not quite en rhgle to bring one so 
far out of our own set ; but she said, * Genius itself 
is not en r^gle ; it comes into the world to make 
new rules." And one must admit that." 

" Ay, to be sure," said Lord Brackenshaw, in a 
tone of careless dismissal, adding quickly, " For 
my part, I am not magnanimous ; I should like to 
win. But, confound it ! I never have the chance 
now. I'm getting old and idle. The young ones 
beat me. As old Nestor says — the gods don't give 
us everything at one time : I was a young fellow 
once, and now I am getting an old and wise one. 
Old, at any rate ; which is a gift that comes to 
everybody if they live long enough, so it raises no 
jealousy." The Earl smiled comfortably at his wife. 

" Oh my lord, people who have been neighbours 
twenty years must not talk to each other about 
age," said Mrs Arrowpoint. "Years, as the 
Tuscans say, are made for the letting of houses. 
But where is our new neighbour ? I thought Mr 
Grandcourt was to be here to-day." 


" Ah, by the way, so he was. The time's getting 
on too/' said his lordship, looking at his watch. 
" But he only got to Diplow the other day. He 
came to us on Tuesday and said he had been 
a little bothered. He may have been pulled in 
another direction. Why, Gascoigne ! " — the Eec- 
tor was just then crossing at a Kttle distance with 
Gwendolen on his arm, and turned in compli- 
ance with the call — " this is a little too bad ; you 
not only beat us yourself, but you bring up your 
niece to beat all the archeresses." 

" It is rather scandalous in her to get the better 
of elder members," said Mr Gascoigne, with much 
inward satisfaction curling his short upper lip. 
" But it is not my doing, my lord. I only meant 
her to make a tolerable figure, without surpassing 
any one." 

" It is not my fault either," said Gwendolen, 
with pretty archness. " If I am to aim, I can't 
help hitting." 

" Ay, ay, that may be a fatal business for some 
people," said Lord Brackenshaw, good-humour- 
edly ; then taking out his watch and looking at 
Mrs Arrowpoint again — "The time's getting on, 
as you say. But Grandcourt is always late. I 
notice in town he's always late, and he's no bow- 
man — ^understands nothing about it. But I told 


him he must come ; he would see the flower of the 
neighbourhood here. He asked about you — had 
seen Arrowpoint's card. I think you had not 
made his acquaiatance in town. He has been a 
good deal abroad. People don't know him much.'' 

" No ; we are strangers," said Mrs Arrowpoint. 
" But that is not what might have been expected. 
For his uncle Sir Hugo Mallinger and I are great 
friends when we meet." 

" I don't know ; uncles and nephews are not so 
likely to be seen together as uncles and nieces," 
said his lordship, smiling towards the Eector. 
" But just come with me one instant, Gascoigne, 
will you? I want to speak a word about the 

Gwendolen chose to go too and be deposited in 
the same group with her mamma and aunt until 
she had to shoot again. That Mr Grandcourt 
might after all not appear on the archery-ground, 
had begun to enter into Gwendolen's thought as a 
possible deduction from the completeness of her 
pleasure. Under all her saucy satire, provoked 
chiefly by her divination that her friends thought 
of him as a desirable match for her, she felt 
something very far from indifference as to the 
impression she would make on him. True, he 
was not to have the slightest power over her (for 


Gwendolen had not considered that the desire to 
conquer is itself a sort of subjection) ; she had 
made up her mind that he was to be one of those 
complimentary and assiduously admiring men of 
whom even her narrow experience had shown her 
several with various-coloured beards and various 
styles of bearing ; and the sense that her friends 
would want her to think him delightful, gave her a 
resistant inclination to presuppose him ridiculous. 
But that was no reason why she could spare his 
presence : and even a passing prevision of trouble 
in case she despised and refused him, raised not 
the shadow of a wish that he should save her that 
trouble by showing no disposition to make her an 
offer. Mr Grandcourt taking hardly any notice 
of her, and becoming shortly engaged to Miss Ar- 
rowpoint, was not a picture which flattered her 

Hence Gwendolen had been all ear to Lord 
Brackenshaw's mode of accounting for Grand- 
court's non-appearance ; and when he did arrive, 
no consciousness — not even Mrs Arrowpoint's or 
Mr Gascoigne's — was more awake to the fact 
than hers, although she steadily avoided looking 
towards any point where he was likely to be. 
There should be no slightest shifting of angles 
to betray that it was of any consequence to her 


whether the much-talked-of Mr Mallinger Grand- 
court presented himself or not. She became again 
absorbed in the shooting, and so resolutely ab- 
stained from looking round observantly that, even 
supposing him to have taken a conspicuous place 
among the spectators, it might be clear she was 
not aware of him. And all the while the cer- 
tainty that he was there made a distinct thread 
in her consciousness. Perhaps her shooting was 
the better for it : at any rate, it gained in preci- 
sion, and she at last raised a delightful storm of 
clapping and applause by three hits running in 
the gold — a feat which among the Brackenshaw 
archers had not the vulgar reward of a shilling 
poll-tax, but that of a special gold star to be worn 
on the breast. That moment was not only a 
happy one to herself — it was just what her 
mamma and her uncle would have chosen for her. 
There was a general falling into ranks to give 
her space that she might advance conspicuously 
to receive the gold star from the hands of Lady 
Brackenshaw; and the perfect movement of her 
fine form was certainly a pleasant thing to behold 
in the clear afternoon light when the shadows 
were long and still. She was the central object of 
that pretty picture, and every one present must 
gaze at her. That was enough : she herself was 


determined to see nobody in particular, or to turn 
her eyes any way except towards Lady Brack- 
enshaw, but her thoughts undeniably turned in 
other ways. It entered a little into her pleasure 
that Herr Klesmer must be observing her at a 
moment when music was out of the question, and 
his superiority very far in the background ; for 
vanity is as ill at ease under indifference as tender- 
ness is under a love which it cannot return ; and 
the unconquered Klesmer threw a trace of his 
malign power even across her pleasant conscious- 
ness that Mr Grandcourt was seeing her to the 
utmost advantage, and was probably giving her 
an admiration unmixed with criticism. She did 
not expect to admire him, but that was not neces- 
sary to her peace of mind. 

Gwendolen met Lady Brackenshaw's gracious 
smile without blushing (which only came to her 
when she was taken by surprise), but with a 
charming gladness of expression, and then bent 
with easy grace to have the star fixed near her 
shoulder. That little ceremony had been over 
long enough for her to have exchanged playful 
speeches and received congratulations as she moved 
among the groups who were now interesting them- 
selves in the results of the scoring ; but it hap- 
pened that she stood outside examining the point 


of an arrow with rather an absent air when Lord 
Brackenshaw came up to her and said — 

" Miss Harleth, here is a gentleman who is not 
willing to wait any longer for an introduction. 
He has been getting Mrs Davilow to send me 
with him. Will you allow me to introduce Mr 
Mallinger Grandcourt ? " 



N E W B O O K S. 


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somewhat rao 

This has in( 
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BOOK 11. 




The banning of an acquaintance whether with persons or things is to 
get a definite outline for our ignomnce. 

Mr Grandcoukt's wish to be introduced had 
no suddenness for Gwendolen; but when Lord 
Brackenshaw moved aside a little for the pre- 
figured stranger to come forward and she felt 
herself face to face with the real man, there was 
a little shock which flushed her cheeks and vex- 
atiously deepened with her consciousness of it. 
The shock came from the reversal of her expecta- 
tions : Grandcourt could hardly have been more 
unhke all her imaginary portraits of him. He was 
slightly taller than herself, and their eyes seemed 


to be on a level ; there was not the faintest smile 
on his face as he looked at her, not a trace of self- 
consciousness or anxiety in his bearing ; when he 
raised his hat he showed an extensive baldness 
surrounded with a mere fringe of reddish blond 
hair, but he also showed a perfect hand ; the line 
of feature from brow to chin undisguised by beard 
was decidedly handsome, with only moderate de- 
partures from the perpendicular, and the slight 
whisker too was perpendicular. It was not pos- 
sible for a human aspect to be freer from grimace 
or solicitous wrigglings ; also it was perhaps not 
possible for a breathing man wide awake to look 
less animated. The correct Englishman, drawing 
himself up from his bow into rigidity, assenting 
severely, and seeming to be in a state of internal 
drill, suggests a suppressed vivacity, and may be 
suspected of letting go with some violence when 
he is released from parade ; but Grandcourt's 
bearing had no rigidity, it inclined rather to the 
flaccid. His complexion had a faded fairness 
resembling that of an actress when bare of the 
artificial white and red ; his long narrow grey eyes 
expressed nothing but indifference. Attempts at 
description are stupid ; who can all at once 
describe a human being ? even when he is pre- 
sented to us we only begin that knowledge of his 


appearance which must be completed by innumer- 
able impressions under differing circumstances. 
We recognise the alphabet; we are not sure of 
the language. I am only mentioning the points 
that Gwendolen saw by the light of a prepared 
contrast in the first minutes of her meeting with 
Grandcourt : they were summed iip in the words, 
"He is not ridiculous." But forthwith Lord 
Brackenshaw was gone, and what is called con- 
versation had begun, the first and constant ele- 
ment in it being that Grandcourt looked at 
Gwendolen persistently with a slightly exploring 
gaze, but without change of expression, while 
she only occasionally looked at him with a flash 
of observation a little softened by coquetry. Also, 
after her answers there was a longer or shorter 
pause before he spoke again. 

"I used to think archery was a great bore," 
Grandcourt began. He spoke with a fine accent, 
but with a certain broken drawl, as of a distin- 
guished personage with a distinguished cold on 
his chest. 

" Are you converted to-day ? " said Gwendolen. 

(Pause, during which she imagined various 
degrees and modes of opinion about herself that 
might be entertained by Grandcourt.) 

" Yes, since I saw you shooting. In things of 


this sort one generally sees people missing and 

" I suppose you are a first-rate shot with a rifle." 

(Pause, during which Gwendolen, having taken 
a rapid observation of Grandcourt, made a brief 
graphic description of him to an indefinite hearer.) 

" I have left off shooting." 

" Oh, then, you are a formidable person. People 
who have done things once and left them off make 
one feel very contemptible, as if one were using 
cast-off fashions. I hope you have not left off 
all follies, because I practise a great many." 

(Pause, during which Gwendolen made several 
interpretations of her own speech.) 

" What do you call follies ? " 

"Well, in general, I think whatever is agreeable 
is called a folly. But you have not left ofl" hunt- 
ing, I hear." 

(Pause, wherein Gwendolen recalled what she 
had heard about Grandcourt's position, and decided 
that he was the most aristocratic-looking man she 
had ever seen.) 

" One must do something." 

" And do you care about the turf ? — or is that 
among the things you have left off? " 

(Pause, during which Gwendolen thought that 
a man of extremely calm, cold manners might be 


less disagreeable as a husband than other men, and 
not likely to interfere with his wife's preferences.) 

" I run a horse now and then ; but I don't go in 
for the thing as some men do. Are you fond of 
horses ? " 

" Yes, indeed : I never like my life so well as 
when I am on horseback, having a great gallop. 
I think of nothing. I only feel myself strong and 

(Pause, wherein Gwendolen wondered whether 
Grandcourt would like what she said, but assured 
herself that she was not going to disguise her 

" Do you like danger ? " 

"I don't know. When I am on horseback I 
never think of danger. It seems to me that if I 
broke my bones I should not feel it. I should go 
at anything that came in my way." 

(Pause, during which Gwendolen had run 
through a whole hunting season with two chosen 
hunters to ride at will.) 

" You would perhaps like tiger-hunting or pig- 
sticking. I saw some of that for a season or two 
in the East. Everything here is poor stuff after 

" You are fond of danger, then ? " 

(Pause, wherein Gwendolen speculated on the 


probability that the men of coldest manners were 
the most adventurous, and felt the strength of her 
own insight, supposing the question had to be 

" One must have something or other. But one 
gets used to it." 

" I begin to think I am very fortunate, because 
everything is new to me : it is only that I can't 
get enough of it. I am not used to anything 
except being dull, which I should like to leave 
off as you have left off shooting." 

(Pause, during which it occurred to Gwendolen 
that a man of cold and distinguished manners 
might possibly be a dull companion ; but on the 
other hand she thought that most persons were 
dull, that she had not observed husbands to be 
companions — and that after all she was not going 
to accept Grandcourt.) 

"Why are you dull?" 

"This is a dreadful neighbourhood. There is 
nothing to be done in it. That is why I practised 
my archery." 

(Pause, during which Gwendolen reflected that 
the life of an unmarried woman who could not go 
about and had no command of anything must 
necessarily be dull through all the degrees of 
comparison as time went on.) 


" You have made yourself queen of it. I ima- 
gine you will carry the first prize." 

" I don't know that. I have great rivals. Did 
you not observe how well Miss Arrowpoint 

(Pause, wherein Gwendolen was thinking that 
men had been known to choose some one else 
than the woman they most admired, and recalled 
several experiences of that kind in novels.) 

" Miss Arrowpoint ? No — that is, yes." 

" Shall we go now and hear what the scoring 
says ? Every one is going to the other end now 
— shall w^e join them ? I think my uncle is look- 
ing towards me. He perhaps wants me." 

Gwendolen found a relief for herself by thus 
changing the situation: not that the tete-db-tete 
was quite disagreeable to her ; but while it lasted 
she apparently could not get rid of the unwonted 
flush in her cheeks and the sense of surprise 
which made her feel less mistress of herself than 
usual. And this Mr Grandcourt, who seemed 
)o feel his own importance more than he did 
hers — a sort of unreasonableness few of us can 
tolerate — must not take for granted that he was 
of great moment to her, or that because others 
speculated on him as a desirable match she 
held herself altogether at his beck. How Grand- 


court had filled up the pauses will be more evi- 
dent hereafter. 

"You have just missed the gold arrow, Gwen- 
dolen," said Mr Gascoigne. "Miss Juliet Fenn 
scores eight above you." 

"I am very glad to hear it. I should have 
felt that I was making myself too disagreeable — 
taking the best of everything," said Gwendolen, 
quite easily. 

It was impossible to be jealous of Juliet Fenn, 
a girl as middling as mid-day market in every- 
thing but her archery and her plainness, in which 
last she was noticeably like her father : underhung 
and with receding brow resembling that of the 
more intelligent fishes. (Surely, considering the 
importance which is given to such an accident in 
female offspring, marriageable men, or what the 
new English calls " intending bridegrooms," should 
look at themselves dispassionately in the glass, 
since their natural selection of a mate prettier 
than themselves is not certain to bar the effect of 
their own ugliness.) 

There was now a lively movement in the ming- 
ling groups, which carried the talk along with it. 
Every one spoke to every one else by turns, and 
Gwendolen, who chose to see what was going on 
around her now, observed that Grandcourt was 


having Klesmer presented to him by some one 
unknown to her — a middle-aged man with dark 
full face and fat hands, who seemed to be on the 
easiest terms with both, and presently led the 
way in joining the Arrowpoints, whose acquaint- 
ance had already been made by both him and 
Grandcourt. Who this stranger was she did not 
care much to know ; but she wished to observe 
what was Grandcourt's manner towards others 
than herself. Precisely the same ; except that 
he did not look much at Miss Arrowpoint, but 
rather at Klesmer, who was speaking with ani- 
mation — now stretching out his long fingers 
horizontally, now pointing downwards with his 
fore -finger, now folding his arms and tossing 
his mane, while he addressed himself first to 
one and then the other, including Grandcourt, 
who listened with an impassive face and narrow 
eyes, his left fore-finger in his waistcoat-pocket, 
and his right slightly touching his thin whisker. 

**I wonder which style Miss Arrowpoint ad- 
mires most," was a thought that glanced through 
Gwendolen's mind while her eyes and lips 
gathered rather a mocking expression. But she 
would not indulge her sense of amusement by 
watching as if she were curious, and she gave all 
her animation to those immediately around her, 


determined not to care whether Mr Grandcourt 
came near her again or not. 

He did come, however, and at a moment when 
he could propose to conduct Mrs Davilow to her 
carriage. " Shall we meet again in the ball-room ? " 
she said, as he raised his hat at parting. The 
"yes" in reply had the nsual slight drawl and 
perfect gravity. 

"You were wrong for once, Gwendolen," said 
Mrs Davilow during their few minutes' drive to 
the castle. 

" In what, mamma ? " 

" About Mr Grandcourt's appearance and man- 
ners. You can't find anything ridiculous in him." 

" I suppose I could if I tried, but I don't want 
to do it," said Gwendolen, rather pettishly; and 
her mamma was afraid to say more. 

It was the rule on these occasions for the ladies 
and gentlemen to dine apart, so that the dinner 
might make a time of comparative ease and rest 
for both. Indeed the gentlemen had a set of 
archery stories about the epicurism of the ladies, 
who had somehow been reported to show a revolt- 
ingly masculine judgment in venison, even asking 
for the fat — a proof of the frightful rate at which 
corruption might go on in women, but for severe 
social restraint. And every year the amiable 


Lord Brackenshaw, who was something of a gour- 
met, mentioned Byron's opinion that a woman 
should never be seen eating, — ^introducing it with 
a confidential — "The fact is" — as if he were for 
the first time admitting his concurrence in that 
sentiment of the refined poet. 

In the ladies' dining-room it was evident that 
Gwendolen was not a general favourite with her 
own sex ; there were no beginnings of intimacy 
between her and other girls, and in conversation 
they rather noticed what she said than spoke to 
her in free exchange. Perhaps it was that she 
was not much interested in them, and when left 
alone in their company had a sense of empty 
benches. Mrs Vulcany once remarked that Miss 
Harleth was too fond of the gentlemen; but 
we know that she was not in the least fond of 
them — she was only fond of their homage — and 
women did not give her homage. The exception 
to this willing aloofness from her was Miss Ar- 
rowpoint, who often managed unostentatiously 
to be by her side, and talked to her with quiet 

" She knows, as I do, that our friends are ready 
to quarrel over a husband for us," thought Gwen- 
dolen, " and she is determined not to enter into 
the quarrel." 


" I think Miss Arrowpoint has the best manners 
I ever saw," said Mrs Davilow, when she and 
Gwendolen were in a dressing-room with Mrs 
Gascoigne and Anna, but at a distance where they 
could have their talk apart. 

" I wish I were like her," said Gwendolen. 

"Why? Are you getting discontented with 
yourself, Gwen?" 

" No ; but I am discontented with things. She 
seems contented." 

"I am sure you ought to be satisfied to-day. 
You must have enjoyed the shooting. I saw you 

" Oh, that is over now, and I don't know what 
will come next," said Gwendolen, stretching her- 
self with a sort of moan and throwing up her 
arms. They -were bare now : it was the fashion to 
dance in the archery dress, throwing off the jacket; 
and the simplicity of her white cashmere with its 
border of pale green set off her form to the utmost. 
A thin line of gold round her neck, and the gold 
star on her breast, were her only ornaments. Her 
smooth soft hair piled up into a grand crown made 
a clear line about her brow. Sir Joshua would 
have been glad to take her portrait ; and he would 
have had an easier task than the historian at least 
in this, that he would not have had to represent 


the truth of change — only to give stability to one 
beautiful moment. 

" The dancing will come next," said Mrs 
Davilow. "You are sure to enjoy that." 

" I shall only dance in the quadrille. I told 
Mr Clintock so. I shall not waltz or polk with 
any one." 

" Why in the world do you say that all on a 
sudden ? " 

" I can't bear having ugly people so near me." 

" Whom do you mean by ugly people ? " 

« Oh, plenty." 

" Mr Clintock, for example, is not ugly." Mrs 
Davilow dared not mention Grandcourt. 

" Well, I hate woollen cloth touching me." 

" Fancy ! " said Mrs Davilow to her sister who 
now came up from the other end of the room. 
" Gwendolen says she will not waltz or polk." 

" She is rather given to whims, I think," said 
Mrs Gascoigne, gravely. " It would be more be- 
coming in her to behave as other young ladies do 
on such an occasion as this ; especially when she 
has had the advantage of first-rate dancing lessons." 

"Why should I waltz if I don't like it, aunt? 
It is not in the Catechism." 

" My dear ! " said Mrs Gascoigne, in a tone of 
severe check, and Anna looked frightened at 


Gwendolen's daring. But they all passed on with- 
out saying more. 

Apparently something had changed Gwendolen's 
mood since the hour of exulting enjoyment in the 
archery-ground. But she did not look the worse 
under the chandeliers in the ball-room, where the 
soft splendour of the scene and the pleasant odours 
from the conservatory could not but be soothing 
to the temper, when accompanied with the con- 
sciousness of being pre - eminently sought for. 
Hardly a dancing man but was anxious to have 
her for a partner, and each whom she accepted 
was in a state of melancholy remonstrance that 
she would not waltz or polk. 

" Are you under a vow, Miss Harleth ? " — " Why 
are you so cruel to us all ?" — "You waltzed with me 
in February." — "And you who waltz so perfectly!" 
— were exclamations not without piquancy for her. 
The ladies who waltzed, naturally thought that 
Miss Harleth only wanted to make herself partic- 
ular ; but her uncle when he overheard her refusal 
supported her by saying — 

"Gwendolen has usually good reasons." He 
thought she was certainly more distinguished in 
not waltzing, and he wished her to be distinguished. 
The archery ball was intended to be kept at the 
subdued pitch that suited all dignities clerical 


and secular : it was not an escapement for youth- 
ful high spirits, and he himself was of opinion 
that the fashionable dances were too much of a 

Among the remonstrant dancing men, however, 
Mr Grandcourt was not numbered. After stand- 
ing up for a quadrille with Miss Arrowpoint, it 
seemed that he meant to ask for no other partner. 
Gwendolen observed hi in frequently with the 
Arrowpoints, but he never took an opportunity of 
approaching her. Mr Gascoigne was sometimes 
speaking to him ; but Mr Gascoigne was every- 
where. It was in her mind now that she would 
probably after all not have the least trouble about 
him : perhaps he had looked at her without any 
particular admiration, and was too much used to 
everything in the world to think of her as more 
than one of the girls who were invited in that part 
of the country. Of course ! It was ridiculous 
of elders to entertain notions about what a man 
would do, without having seen him even through 
a telescope. Probably he meant to marry Miss 
An-owpoint. Whatever might come, she, Gwen- 
dolen, was not going to be disappointed : the 
affair was a joke whichever way it turned, for she 
had never committed herself even by a silent con- 
fidence in anything Mr Grandcourt would do. 

VOL. I. 


Still, she noticed that he did sometimes quietly 
and gradually change his position according to 
hers, so that he could see her whenever she was 
dancing, and if he did not admire her — so much 
the worse for him. 

Tliis movement for the sake of being in sight of 
her was more direct than usual rather late in the 
evening, when Gwendolen had accepted Klesmer 
as a partner ; and that wide-glancing personage, 
who saw everything and nothing by turns, said to 
her when they were walking, " Mr Grandcourt is a 
man of taste. He likes to see you dancing." 

" Perhaps he likes to look at what is against his 
taste," said Gwendolen, with a light laugh : she 
was quite courageous with Klesmer now. " He 
may be so tired of admiring that he likes disgust 
for a variety." 

" Those words are not suitable to your lips," said 
Klesmer, g^uickly, with one of his grand frowns, 
while he shook his hand as if to banish the discor- 
dant sounds. 

" Are you as critical of words as of music ? " 

" Certainly I am. I should require your words 
to be what your face and form are — always among 
the meanings of a noble music." 

" That is a compliment as well as a correction. 
I am obliged for both. But do you know I am 


bold enough to wish to correct you, and require 
you to understand a joke V 

" One may understand jokes without liking 
them," said the terrible Klesmer. "I have had 
opera books sent me full of jokes ; it was just 
because I understood them that I did not like 
them. The comic people are ready to challenge 
a man because he looks grave. 'You don't see 
the witticism, sir ? * ' No, sir, but I see what you 
meant.' Then I am what we call ticketed as a 
fellow without esjprit But in fact, " said Klesmer, 
suddenly dropping from his quick narrative to a 
reflective tone, with an impressive frown, " I am 
very sensible to wit and humour." 

" I am glad you tell me that," said Gwendolen, 
not without some wickedness of intention. But 
Klesmer's thoughts had flown off on the wings of 
his own statement, as their habit was, and she had 
the wickedness all to herself. " Pray, who is that 
standing near the card-room door ? " she went on, 
seeing there the same stranger with whom Klesmer 
had been in animated talk on the archery-ground. 
" He is a friend of yours, I think." 

" No, no ; an amateur I have seen in town ^ 
Lush, a Mr Lush — too fond of Meyerbeer and 
Scribe — too fond of the mechanical-dramatic." 

"Thanks. I wanted to know whether you 


tlioiiglit his face and form required that his words 
should be among the meanings of noble music ? " 
Klesmer was conquered, and flashed at her a 
delightful smile which made them quite friendly 
until she begged to be deposited by the side of 
her mamma. 

Three minutes afterwards her preparation for 
Grandcourt's indifference were all cancelled. 
Turning her head after some remark to her 
mother, she found that he had made his way up 
to her. 

'* May I ask if you are tired of dancing, Miss 
Harleth ? " he began, looking down with his for- 
mer unperturbed expression. 

"Not in the least." 

"Will you do me the honour — the next — or 
another quadrille ? " 

" I should have been very happy," said Gwen- 
dolen, looking at her card, " but I am engaged for 
the next to Mr Clintock — and indeed I perceive 
that I am doomed for every quadrille : I have not 
one to dispose of." She was not sorry to punish 
Mr Grandcourt's tardiness, yet at the same time 
she would have liked to dance with him. She 
gave him a charming smile as she looked up to 
deliver her answer, and he stood still looking 
down at her with no smile at all. 


" I am unfortunate in being too late," lie said, 
after a moment's pause. 

"It seemed to me that you did not care for 
dancing," said Gwendolen. " I thought it might 
be one of the things you had left ojBF." 

" Yes, but I have not begun to dance with you," 
said Grandcourt. Always there was the same 
pause before he took up his cue. "You make 
dancing a new thing — as you make archery." 

" Is novelty always agreeable ? " 

" No, no — not always." 

" Then I don't know whether to feel flattered 
or not. When you had once danced with me 
there would be no more novelty in it." 

"On the contrary. There would probably be 
much more." 

" That is deep. I don't understand." 

" Is it difficult to make Miss Harleth understand 
her power?" Here Grandcourt had turned to 
Mrs Davilow, who, smiling gently at her daughter, 
said — 

" I think she does not generally strike people 
as slow to understand." 

" Mamma," said Gwendolen, in a deprecating 
tone, " I am adorably stupid, and want everything 
explained to me — when the meaning is pleasant." 

"If you are stupid, I admit that stupidity is 


adorable," returned Grandcourt, after the usual 
pause, and without change of tone. But clearly 
he knew what to say. 

" I begin to think that my cavalier has forgotten 
me," Gwendolen observed after a little while. " I 
see the quadrille is being formed." 

" He deserves to be renounced," said Grandcourt. 

"I think he is very pardonable," said Gwen- 

"There must have been some misunderstand- 
ing," said Mrs Davilow. " Mr Clintock was too 
anxious about the engagement to have forgotten 

But now Lady Brackenshaw came up and said, 
" Miss Harleth, Mr Clintock has charged me to 
express to you his deep regret that he was obliged 
to leave without having the pleasure of dancing 
with you again. An express came from his 
father the archdeacon: something important: he 
was obliged to go. He was au d^sespoir." 

" Oh, he was very good to remember the engage- 
ment under the circumstances," said Gwendolen. 
" I am sorry he was called away." It was easy to 
be politely sorrowful on so felicitous an occasion. 

"Then I can profit by Mr Clintock's misfor- 
tune ? " said Grandcourt. " May I hope that you 
will let me take his place ? " 


"I shall be very happy to dance the next 
quadrille with you." 

The appropriateness of the event seemed an 
augury, and as Gwendolen stood up for the quad- 
rille with Grandcourt, there was a revival in her 
of the exultation — the sense of carrying every- 
thing before her, which she had felt earlier in 
the day. No man could have walked through 
the quadrille with more irreproachable ease than 
Grandcourt; and the absence of all eagerness 
in his attention to her suited his partner's taste. 
She was now convinced that he meant to dis- 
tinguish her, to mark his admiration of her in a 
noticeable way ; and it began to appear probable 
that she would have it in her power to reject 
him, whence there was a pleasure in reckoning up 
the advantages which would make her rejection 
splendid, and in giving Mr Grandcourt his utmost 
value. It was also agreeable to divine that his 
exclusive selection of her to dance with, from 
among all the unmarried ladies present, would 
attract observation ; though she studiously avoided 
seeing this, and at the end of the quadrille walked 
away on Grandcourt*s arm as if she had been one 
of the shortest sighted instead of the longest and 
widest sighted of mortals. They encountered Miss 
Arrowpoint, who was standing with Lady Bracken- 


shaw and a group of gentlemen. The heiress 
looked at Gwendolen invitingly and said, " I hope 
you will vote with us, Miss Harleth, and Mr 
Grandcourt too, though he is not an archer." 
Gwendolen and Grandcourt paused to join the 
group, and found that the voting turned on the 
project of a picnic archery meeting to be held in 
Cardell Chase, where the evening entertainment 
would be more poetic than a ball under chandeliers 
— a feast of sunset lights along the glades and 
through the branches and over the solemn tree- 

Gwendolen thought the scheme delightful — 
equal to playing Kobin Hood and Maid Marian ; 
and Mr Grandcourt, when appealed to a second 
time, said it was a thing to be done ; whereupon 
Mr Lush, who stood behind Lady Brackenshaw's 
elbow, drew Gwendolen's notice by saying, with 
a familiar look and tone, to Grandcourt, " Diplow 
would be a good place for the meeting, and more 
convenient: there's a fine bit between the oaks 
towards the north gate." 

Impossible to look more unconscious of being 
addressed than Grandcourt ; but Gwendolen took 
a new survey of the speaker, deciding, first, that he 
must be on terms of intimacy with the tenant of 
Diplow, and, secondly, that she would never, if she 


could help it, let him come within a yard of her. 
She was subject to physical antipathies, and Mr 
Lush's prominent eyes, fat though not clumsy 
figure, and strong black grey-besprinkled hair of 
frizzy thickness, which, with the rest of his pros- 
perous person, was enviable to many, created one 
of the strongest of her antipathies. To be safe 
from his looking at her, she murmured to Grand- 
court, " I should like to continue walking." 

He obeyed immediately ; but when they were 
thus away from any audience, he spoke no word 
for several minutes, and she, out of a half-amused, 
half-serious inclination for experiment, would not 
speak first. They turned into the large con- 
servatory, beautifully lit up with Chinese lamps. 
The other couples there were at a distance which 
would not have interfered with any dialogue, but 
still they walked in silence until they had reached 
the farther end where there was a flush of pink 
light, and the second wide opening into the ball- 
room. Grandcourt, when they had half turned 
round, paused and said languidly — 

" Do you like this kind of thing ? " 

If the situation had been described to Gwen- 
dolen half an hour before, she would have laughed 
heartily at it, and could only have imagined her- 
self returning a playful, satirical answer. But for 


some mysterious reason — it was a mystery of 
which she had a faint wondering consciousness — 
she dared not be satirical : she had begun to feel 
a wand over her that made her afraid of offending 

" Yes," she said, quietly, without considering 
what "kind of thing" was meant— whether the 
flowers, the scents, the ball in general, or this epi- 
sode of walking with Mr Grandcourt in particular. 
And they returned along the conservatory without 
farther interpretation. She then proposed to go 
and sit down in her old place, and they walked 
among scattered couples preparing for the waltz 
to the spot where Mrs Davilow had been seated 
all the evening. As they approached it her seat 
was vacant, but she was coming towards it again, 
and, to Gwendolen's shuddering annoyance, with 
Mr Lush at her elbow. There was no avoiding 
the confrontation : her mamma came close to her 
before they had reached the seats, and, after a 
quiet greeting smile, said innocently, " Gwendolen, 
dear, let me present Mr Lush to you." Having 
just made the acquaintance of this personage, 
as an intimate and constant companion of Mr 
Grandcourt's, Mrs Davilow imagined it altogether 
desirable that her daughter also should make the 


It was hardly a bow that Gwendolen gave — 
rather, it was the slightest forward sweep of the 
head away from the physiognomy that inclined 
itseK towards her, and she immediately moved 
towards her seat, saying, " I want to put on my 
burnous." No sooner had she reached it, than 
Mr Lush was there, and had the burnous in his 
hand : to annoy this supercilious young lady, he 
would incur the ofience of forestalling Grand- 
court; and, holding up the garment close to 
Gwendolen, he said, " Pray, permit me ? " But 
she, wheeling away from him as if he had been 
a muddy hound, glided on to the ottoman, saying, 
" No, thank you.'' 

A man who forgave this would have much 
Christian feeling, supposing he had intended to be 
agreeable to the young lady ; but before he seized 
the burnous Mr Lush had ceased to have that 
intention. Grandcourt quietly took the drapery 
from him, and Mr Lush, with a slight bow, moved 

" You had perhaps better put it on," said Mr 
Grandcourt, looking down on her without change 
of expression. 

" Thanks ; perhaps it would be wise," said 
Gwendolen, rising, and submitting very gracefully 
to take the burnous on her shoulders. 


After that, Mr Grandcourt exchanged a few 
polite speeches with Mrs Davilow, and, in taking 
leave, asked permission to call at OfFendene the 
next day. He was evidently not offended by the 
insult directed towards his friend. Certainly, 
Gwendolen's refusal of the burnous from Mr Lush 
was open to the interpretation that she wished to 
receive it from Mr Grandcourt. But she, poor 
child, had had no design in this action, and was 
simply following her antipathy and inclination, 
confiding in them as she did in the more reflective 
judgments into which they entered as sap into 
leafage. Gwendolen had no sense that these men 
were dark enigmas to her, or that she needed any 
help in drawing conclusions about them — Mr 
Grandcourt at least. The chief question was, how 
far his character and ways might answer her 
wishes ; and unless she were satisfied about that, 
she had said to herself that she would not accept 
his offer. 

Could there be a slenderer, more insignificant 
thread in human history than this consciousness 
of a girl, busy with her small inferences of the 
way in which she could make her life pleasant ? 
— in a time, too, when ideas were with fresh vig- 
our making armies of themselves, and the uni- 


versal kinship was declaring itself fiercely : when 
women on the other side of the world would not 
mourn for the husbands and sons who died bravely 
in a common cause, and men stinted of bread on 
our side of the world heard of that willing loss 
and were patient : a time when the soul of man 
was waking to pulses which had for centuries 
been beating in him unheard, until their full sum 
made a new life of terror or of joy. 

What in the midst of that mighty drama are 
girls and their blind visions ? They are the Yea 
or Nay of that good for which men are endur- 
ing and fighting. In these delicate vessels is 
borne onward through the ages the treasure of 
human affections. 


' O gentlemen, the time of life is short ; 
To spend that shortness basely were too long, 
If life did ride upon a dial's point. 
Still ending at the arrival of an hour." 

— Shakespeare : Henry IV. 

On the second day after the Archery Meeting, Mr 
Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt was at his break- 
fast-table with Mr Lush. Everything around 
them was agreeable : the summer air through the 
open windows, at which the dogs could walk in 
from the old green turf on the lawn; the soft, 
purplish colouring of the park beyond, stretching 
towards a mass of bordering wood ; the still life 
in the room, which seemed the stiller for its sober 
antiquated elegance, as if it kept a conscious, well- 
bred silence, unlike the restlessness of vulgar 

Whether the gentlemen were agreeable to each 
other was less evident. Mr Grandcourt had 
drawn his chair aside so as to face the lawn, 
and, with his left leg over another chair, and his 


right elbow on the table, was smoking a large 
cigar, while his companion was still eating. The 
(logs — half-a-dozen of various kinds were moving 
lazily in and out, or taking attitudes of brief 
attention — gave a vacillating preference first to 
one gentleman, then to the other ; being dogs in 
such good circumstances that they could play at 
hunger, and liked to be served with delicacies 
which they declined to put into their mouths; 
all except Fetch, the beautiful liver-coloured 
water-spaniel, which sat with its fore-paws firmly 
planted and its expressive brown face turned 
upward, watching Grandcourt with unshaken 
constancy. He held in his lap a tiny Maltese 
dog with a tiny silver collar and bell, and when 
he had a hand unused by cigar or coffee-cup, it 
rested on this small parcel of animal warmth. I 
fear that Fetch was jealous, and wounded that 
her master gave her no word or look ; at last it 
seemed that she could bear this neglect no longer, 
and she gently put her large silky paw on her 
master's leg. Grandcourt looked at her with 
unchanged face for half a minute, and then took 
the trouble to lay down his cigar while he lifted 
the unimpassioned Fluff close to his chin and 
gave it caressing pats, all the while gravely watch- 
ing Fetch, who, poor thing, whimpered interrupt- 


edly, as if trying to represKS that sign of discontent, 
and at last rested her head beside the appealing 
paw, looking np with piteons beseeching. So, at 
least, a lover of dogs must have interpreted Fetch, 
and Grandcourt kept so many dogs that he was 
reputed to love them ; at any rate, his impulse to 
act just in this way started from such an inter- 
pretation. But when the amusing anguish burst 
forth in a howling bark, Grandcourt pushed Fetch 
down without speaking, and, depositing Fluff 
carelessly on the table (where his black nose pre- 
dominated over a salt-cellar), began to look to his 
cigar, and found, with some annoyance against 
Fetch as the cause, that the brute of a cigar 
required relighting. Fetch, having begun to wail, 
found, like others of her sex, that it was not easy 
to leave off ; indeed, the second howl was a louder 
one, and the third was like unto it. 

" Turn out that brute, will you ? " said Grand- 
court to Lush, without raising his voice or look- 
ing at him — as if he counted on attention to the 
smallest sign. 

And Lush immediately rose, lifted Fetch, though 
she was rather heavy and he was not fond of 
stooping, and carried her out, disposing of her 
in some way that took him a couple of minutes 
before he returned. . He then lit a cigar, placed 


himself at an angle where he could see Grand- 
court's face without turning, and presently said — 

" Shall you ride or drive to Quetcham to-day? " 

" I am not going to Quetcham." 

" You did not go yesterday." 

Grandcourt smoked in silence for half a minute 
and then said — 

*' I suppose you sent my card and inquiries." 

" I went myself at four, and said you were 
sure to be there shortly. They would suppose 
some accident prevented you from fulfilling the 
intention. Especially if you go to-day." 

Silence for a couple of minutes. Then Grand- 
court said, " What men are invited here with their 
wives ? " 

Lush drew out a note-book. " The Captain and 
Mrs Torrington come next week. Then there are 
Mr Hollis, and Lady Flora, and the Cushats, and 
the Gogoffs." 

"Rather a ragged lot," remarked Grandcourt 
after a while. " Why did you ask the Gogoffs ? 
When you write invitations in my name, be good 
enough to give me a list, instead of bringing down 
a giantess on me without my knowledge. She 
spoils the look of the room." 

"You invited the Gogoffs yourself, when you 
met them in Paris." 

VOL. I. p 


"What has my meeting them in Paris to do 
with it ? I told you to give me a list." 

Grandcourt, like many others, had two remark- 
ably different voices. Hitherto we have heard 
him speaking in a superficial interrupted drawl 
suggestive chiefly of languor and ennui. But this 
last brief speech was uttered in subdued, inward, 
yet distinct tones, which Lush had long been 
used to recognise as the expression of a peremp- 
tory will. 

" Are there any other couples you would like 
to invite?'* 

"Yes; think of some decent people, with a 
daughter or two. And one of your damned musi- 
cians. But not a comic fellow." 

" I wonder if Klesmer would consent to come 
to us when he leaves Quetcham. Nothing but 
first-rate music will go down with Miss Arrow- 

Lush spoke carelessly, but he was really seiz- 
ing an opportunity and fixing an observant look 
on Grandcourt, who now for the first time turned 
his eyes towards his companion, but slowly, and 
without speaking until he had given two long 
luxurious puffs, when he said, perhaps in a lower 
tone than ever, but with a perceptible edge of 
contempt — 


" What in the name of nonsense have I to do 
with Miss Arrowpoint and her music ? " 

" Well, something," said Lush, jocosely. " You 
need not give yourself much trouble, perhaps. 
But some forms must be gone through before a 
man can marry a million." 

" Very likely. But I am not going to marry 
a million." 

"That's a pity — to fling away an opportunity 
of this sort, and knock down your own plans." 

" Your plans, I suppose you mean." 

" You have some debts, you know, and things 
may turn out inconveniently after all. The heir- 
ship is not absolutely certain." 

Grandcourt did not answer and Lush went on. 

"It really is a fine oppoi-tunity. The father 
and mother ask for nothing better, I can see, and 
the daughter's looks and manners require no al- 
lowances, any more than if she hadn't a sixpence. 
She is not beautiful ; but equal to carrying any 
rank. And she is not likely to refuse such pro- 
spects as you can offer her." 

" Perhaps not.'* 

" The father and mother would let you do any- 
thing you liked with them." 

"But I should not like to do anything with 


Here it was Lush wlio made a little pause 
before speaking again, and then he said in a deep 
voice of remonstrance, " Good God, Grandcourt ! 
after your experience, will you let a whim inter- 
fere with your comfortable settlement in life V* 

" Spare your oratory. I know what I am go- 
ing to do." 

" What ?" Lush put down his cigar and thrust 
his hands into his side pockets, as if he had to 
face something exasperating, but meant to keep 
his temper. 

" I am going to marry the other girl." 

" Have you fallen in love ? " This question 
carried a strong sneer. 

" I am going to marry her." 

" You have made her an offer already, then ?" 


" She is a young lady with a will of her own, 
I fancy. Extremely well fitted to make a rumpus. 
She would know what she liked." 

" She doesn't like you," said Grandcourt, with 
the ghost of a smile. 

" Perfectly true," said Lush, adding again in a 
markedly sneering tone, " However, if you and 
she are devoted to each other, that will be 

Grandcourt took ' no notice of this speech, but 


sipped his coffee, rose, and strolled out on the 
lawn, all the dogs following him. 

Lush glanced after him a moment, then resumed 
his cigar and lit it, but smoked slowly, consulting 
his beard with inspecting eyes and fingers, till he 
finally stroked it with an air of having arrived at 
some conclusion, and said, in a subdued voice — 

"Check, old boy!" 

Lush, being a man of some ability, had not 
known Grandcourt for fifteen years without learn- 
ing what sort of measures were useless with him, 
though what sort might be useful remained often 
dubious. In the beginning of his career he held 
a fellowship, and was near taking orders for the 
sake of a college living, but not being fond of 
that prospect accepted instead the of&ce of travel- 
ling companion to a marquess, and afterwards to 
young Grandcourt, who had lost his father early, 
and who found Lush so convenient that he had 
allowed him to become prime minister in all his 
more personal affairs. The habit of fifteen years 
had made Grandcourt more and more in need of 
Lush's handiness, and Lush more and more in 
need of the lazy luxury to which his transactions 
on behalf of Grandcourt made no interruption 
worth reckoning. I cannot say that the same 
lengthened habit had intensified Grandcourt's 


want of respect for his companion since that wan£ 
had been absolute from the beginning, but it had 
confirmed his sense that he might kick Lush if 
he chose — only he never did choose to kick any 
animal, because the act of kicking is a com- 
promising attitude, and a gentleman's dogs should 
be kicked for him. He only said things which 
might have exposed himself to be kicked if his 
confidant had been a man of independent spirit. 
But what son of a vicar who has stinted his wife 
and daughters of calico in order to send his male 
offspring to Oxford, can keep an independent 
spirit when he is bent on dining with high dis- 
crimination, riding good horses, living generally 
in the most luxuriant honey-blossomed clover — 
and all without working ? Mr Lush had passed 
for a scholar once, and had still a sense of scholar- 
ship when he was not trying to remember much 
of it; but the bachelors' and other arts which 
soften manners are a time-honoured preparation 
for sinecures ; and Lush's present comfortable 
provision was as good as a sinecure in not requir- 
ing more than the odour of departed learning. 
He was not unconscious of being held kickable, 
but he preferred counting that estimate among 
the peculiarities of Grandcourt's character, which 
made one of his incalculable moods or judgments 


as good as anotlier. Since in his own opinion he 
had never done a bad action, it did not seem 
necessary to consider whether he should be likely 
to commit one if his love of ease required it. 
Lush's love of ease was well satisfied at present, 
and if his puddings were rolled towards him in 
the dust, he took the inside bits and found them 

This morning, for example, though he had 
encountered more annoyance than usual, he went 
to his private sitting-room and played a good hour 
on the violoncello. 



" Philistia, be thou glad of me !" 

Grandcourt having made up his mind to marry 
Miss Harleth showed a power of adapting means 
to ends. During the next fortnight there was 
hardly a day on which by some arrangement or 
other he did not see her, or prove by emphatic 
attentions that she occupied his thoughts. His 
cousin Mrs Torrington was now doing the honours 
of his house, so that Mrs Davilow and Gwendolen 
could be invited to a large party at Diplow in 
which there were many witnesses how the host 
distinguished the dowerless beauty, and showed 
no solicitude about the heiress. The world — I 
mean Mr Gascoigne and all the families worth 
speaking of within visiting distance of Pennicote 
— felt an assurance on the subject which in the 
Eector's mind converted itself into a resolution to 
do his duty by his niece and see that the settle- 


ments were adequate. Indeed, the wonder to him 
and Mrs Davilow was that the offer for which so 
many suitable occasions presented themselves had 
not been already made ; and in this wonder Grai^d- 
court himself was not without a share. When he 
had told his resolution to Lush he had thought 
that the affair would be concluded more quickly, 
and to his own surprise he had repeatedly prom- 
ised himself in a morning that he would to-day 
give Gwendolen the opportunity of accepting him, 
and had found in the evening that the necessary 
formality was still unaccomplished. This remark- 
able fact served to heighten his determination on 
another day. He had never admitted to himself 
that Gwendolen might refuse him, but — heaven 
help us all ! — we are often unable to act on our 
certainties ; our objection to a contrary issue (were 
it possible) is so strong that it rises like a spectral 
illusion between us and our certainty: we are 
rationall}'- sure that the blind-worm cannot bite 
us mortally, but it would be so intolerable to be 
bitten, and the creature has a biting look — we 
decline to handle it. 

He had asked leave to have a beautiful horse of 
his brought for Gwendolen to ride. Mrs Davilow 
was to accompany her in the carriage, and they 
were to go to Diplow to lunch, Grandcourt con- 


ducting them. It was a fine mid-harvest time, 
not too warm for a noon-day ride of five miles to 
be delightful : the poppies glowed on the borders 
of the fields, there was enough breeze to move 
gently like a social spirit among the ears of uncut 
corn, and to wing the shadow of a cloud across 
the soft grey downs ; here the sheaves were stand- 
ing, there the horses were straining their muscles 
under the last load from a wide space of stubble, 
but everywhere the green pastures made a broader 
setting for the corn-fields, and the cattle took their 
rest under wide branches. The road lay through 
a bit of country where the dairy-farms looked 
much as they did in the days of our forefathers 
— where peace and permanence seemed to find a 
home away from the busy change that sent the 
railway train flying in the distance. 

But the spirit of peace and permanence did not 
penetrate poor Mrs Davilow's mind so as to over- 
come her habit of uneasy foreboding. Gwendolen 
and Grandcourt cantering in front of her, and then 
slackening their pace to a conversational walk 
till the carriage came up with them again, made 
a gratifying sight ; but it served chiefly to keep 
up the conflict of hopes and fears about her 
daughter's lot. Here was an irresistible oppor- 
tunity for a lover to speak and put an end to all 


uncertainties, and Mrs Davilow could only hope 
with trembling that Gwendolen's decision would 
be favourable. Certainly if Eex's love had been 
repugnant to her, Mr Grandcourt had the advan- 
tage of being in complete contrast with Eex ; and 
that he had produced some quite novel impression 
on her seemed evident in her marked abstinence 
from satirical observations, nay, her total silence 
about his characteristics, a silence which Mrs 
Davilow did not dare to break. " Is he a man 
she would be happy with?" — was a question that 
inevitably arose in the mother's mind. "Well, 
perhaps as happy as she would be with any one 
else — or as most other women are" — was the 
answer with which she tried to quiet herself ; for 
she could not imagine Gwendolen under the in- 
fluence of any feeling which would make her 
satisfied in what we traditionally call " mean 

Grandcourt's own thought was looking in the 
same direction: he wanted to have done with 
the uncertainty that belonged to his not having 
spoken. As to any further uncertainty — well, it 
was something without any reasonable basis, some 
quality in the air which acted as an irritant to 
his wishes. 

Gwendolen enjoyed the riding, but her pleasure 


did not break forth in girlish unpremeditated chat 
and laughter as it did on that morning with Eex. 
She spoke a little, and even laughed, but with a 
lightness as of a far-off echo : for her too there was 
some peculiar quality in the air — not, she was 
sure, any subjugation of her will by Mr Grand- 
court, and the splendid prospects he meant to offer 
her ; for Gwendolen desired every one, that dig- 
nified gentleman himself included, to understand 
that she was going to do just as she liked, and 
that they had better not calculate on her pleasing 
them. If she chose to take this husband, she 
would have him know that she was not going to 
renounce her freedom, or according to her favourite 
formula, "not going to do as other women did." 

Grandcourt's speeches this morning were, as 
usual, all of that brief sort which never fails to 
make a conversational figure when the speaker is 
held important in his circle. Stopping so soon, 
they give signs of a suppressed and formidable 
ability to say more, and have also the meritorious 
quality of allowing lengthiness to others. 

" How do you like Criterion's paces ? " he said, 
after they had entered the park and were slacken- 
ing from a canter to a walk. 

" He is delightful to ride. I should like to 
have a leap with him, if it would not frighten 


mamma. There was a good wide channel we 
passed five minutes ago. I should like to have a 
gallop back and take it." 

'* Pray do. We can take it together." 

" No, thanks. Mamma is so timid — if she saw 
me it might make her ill.'* 

" Let me go and explain. Criterion would take 
it without fail." 

" No — indeed — you are very kind — but it would 
alarm her too much. I dare take any leap when 
she is not by ; but I do it, and don't tell her 
about it." 

" We can let the carriage pass, and then set 

** No, no, pray don't think of it any more ; I 
spoke quite randomly," said Gwendolen; she be- 
gan to feel a new objection to carrying out her 
own proposition. 

" But Mrs Davilow knows I shall take care of 

" Yes, but she would think of you as having to 
take care of my broken neck." 

There was a considerable pause before Grand- 
court said, looking towards her, " I should like to 
have the right always to take care of you." 

Gwendolen did not turn her eyes on him : it 
seemed to her a long while that she was first 


blushing, and then turning pale, but to Grand- 
court's rate of judgment she answered soon enough, 
with the lightest flute-tone and a careless move- 
ment of the head, " Oh, I am not sure that I want 
to be taken care of : if I chose to risk breaking 
my neck, I should like to be at liberty to do it." 

She checked her horse as she spoke, and turned 
in her saddle, looking towards the advancing car- 
riage. Her eyes swept across Grandcourt as she 
made this movement, but there was no language 
in them to correct the carelessness of her reply. 
At that very moment she was aware that she was 
risking something — not her neck, but the pos- 
sibility of finally checking Grandcourt's advances, 
and she did not feel contented with the possi- 

" Damn her ! " thought Grandcourt, as he too 
checked his horse. He was not a wordy thinker, 
and this explosive phrase stood for mixed impres- 
sions which eloquent interpreters might have 
expanded into some sentences full of an irritated 
sense that he was being mystified, and a determina- 
tion that this girl should not make a fool of him. 
Did she want him to throw himself at her feet and 
declare that he was dying for her ? It was not by 
that gate that she would enter on the privileges he 
could give her. Or did she expect him to vrrite 


his proposals ? Equally a delusion. He would not 
make his offfer in any way that could place him 
definitely in the position of being rejected. But as 
to her accepting him, she had done it already in 
accepting his marked attentions; and anything 
which happened to break them off would be un- 
derstood to her disadvantage. She was merely 
coquetting, then ? 

However, the carriage came up, and no further 
tete-db-tete could well occur before their arrival at 
the house, where there was abundant company, to 
whom Gwendolen, clad in riding-dress, with her 
hat laid aside, clad also in the repute of being 
chosen by Mr Grandcourt, was naturally a centre 
of observation; and since the objectionable Mr 
Lush was not there to look at her, this stimulus 
of admiring attention heightened her spirits, and 
dispersed, for the time, the uneasy consciousness 
of divided impulses which threatened her with 
repentance of her own acts. Whether Grand- 
court had been offended or not there was no judg- 
ing : his manners were unchanged, but Gwen- 
dolen's acuteness had not gone deeper than to 
discern that his manners were no clue for her, 
and because these were unchanged she was not 
the less afraid of him. 

She had not been at Diplow before except to 


dine; and since certain points of view from the 
windows and the garden were worth showing, 
Lady Flora HoUis proposed after luncheon, when 
some of the guests had dispersed, and the sun was 
sloping towards four o'clock, that the remaining 
party should make a little exploration. Here 
came frequent opportunities when Grandcourt 
might have retained Gwendolen apart and have 
spoken to her unheard. But no ! He indeed 
spoke to no one else, but what he said was no- 
thing more eager or intimate than it had been in 
their first interview. He looked at her not less 
than usual ; and some of her defiant spirit having 
come back, she looked full at him in return, not 
caring — rather preferring — that his eyes had no 
expression in them. 

But at last it seemed as if he entertained some 
contrivance. After they had nearly made the 
tour of the grounds, the whole party paused by 
the pool to be amused with Fetch's accomplish- 
ment of bringing a water-lily to the bank like 
Cowper's spaniel Beau, and having been disap- 
pointed in his first attempt insisted on his try- 
ing again. 

Here Grandcourt, who stood with Gwendolen 
outside the group, turned deliberately, and fix- 
ing his eyes on a knoll planted with American 


shrubs, and having a winding path up it, said 
languidly — 

" This is a bore. Shall we go up there ? " 

" Oh, certainly — since we are exploring," said 
Gwendolen. She was rather pleased, and yet 

The path was too narrow for him to offer his 
arm, and they walked up in silence. When they 
were on the bit of platform at the summit Grand- 
court said — 

" There is nothing to be seen here : the thing 
was not worth climbing." 

How was it that Gwendolen did not laugh? 
She was perfectly silent, holding up the folds of 
her robe like a statue, and giving a harder grasp 
to the handle of her whip, which she had snatched 
up automatically with her hat when they had first 
set off. 

" What sort of place do you like ? " said Grand- 

" Different places are agreeable in their way. 
On the whole, I think, I prefer places that are 
open and cheerful. I am not fond of anything 

" Your place at Offendene is too sombre." 

" It is, rather." 

" You will not remain there long, I hope." 
VOL. I. Q 


" Oh yes, I think so. Mamma likes to be near 
her sister." 

Silence for a short space. 

" It is not to he supposed that you will always 
live there, though Mrs Davilow may." 

" I don't know. We women can't go in search 
of adventures — to find out the North- West Passage 
or the source of the Mle, or to hunt tigers in the 
East. We must stay where we grow, or where 
the gardeners like to transplant us. We are 
brought up like the flowers, to look as pretty as 
we can, and be dull without complaining. That 
is my notion about the plants : they are often 
bored, and that is the reason why some of them 
have got poisonous. What do you think?" Gwen- 
dolen had run on rather nervously, lightly whip- 
ping the rhododendron bush in front of her. 

" I quite agree. Most things are bores," said 
Grandcourt, his mind having been pushed into 
an easy current, away from its intended track. 
But after a moment's pause he continued in his 
broken, refined drawl — 

" But a woman can be married." 

" Some women can." 

"You certainly, unless you are obstinately 

" I am not sure that I am not both cruel and 


obstinate." Here Gwendolen suddenly turned her 
head and looked full at Grandcourt, whose eyes she 
had felt to be upon her throughout their conver- 
sation. She was wondering what the effect of 
looking at him would be on herself rather than 
on him. 

He stood perfectly still, half a yard or more 
away from her ; and it flashed through her 
thought that a sort of lotos-eater's stupor had be- 
gun in him and was taking possession of her. 
Then he said — 

"Are you as uncertain about yourself as you 
make others about you ? " 

"I am quite uncertain about myself; I don't 
know how uncertain others may be." 

" And you wish them to understand that you 
don't care?" said Grandcourt, with a touch of 
new hardness in his tone. 

" I did not say that," Gwendolen replied, hesi- 
tatingly, and turning her eyes away whipped the 
rhododendron bush again. She wished she were on 
horseback that she might set off on a canter. It 
was impossible to set off running down the knoll. 

" You do care, then," said Grandcourt, not more 
quickly, but with a softened drawl. 

" Ha ! my whip ! '* said Gwendolen, in a little 
scream of distress. She had let it go — what 


could be more natural in a slight agitation ? — and 
— but this seemed less natural in a gold-handled 
whip which had been left altogether to itself — it 
had gone with some force over the immediate 
shrubs, and had lodged itself in the branches of 
an azalea half-way down the knoll. She could 
run down now, laughing prettily, and Grandcourt 
was obliged to follow; but she was beforehand 
with him in rescuing the whip, and continued on 
her way to the level ground, when she paused 
and looked at Grandcourt with an exasperating 
brightness in her glance and a heightened colour, 
as if she had carried a triumph, and these indica- 
tions were still noticeable to Mrs Davilow when 
Gwendolen and Grandcourt joined the rest of the 

" It is all coquetting," thought Grandcourt ; 
" the next time I beckon she will come down." 

It seemed to him likely that this final beckon- 
ing might happen the very next day, when there 
was to be a picnic archery meeting in Cardell 
Chase, according to the plan projected on the 
evening of the ball. 

Even in Gwendolen's mind that result was one 
of two likelihoods that presented themselves 
alternately, one of two decisions towards which 
she was being precipitated, as if they were two 


sides of a boundary-line, and she did not know on 
which she should fall. This subjection to a pos- 
sible self, a self not to be absolutely predicted 
about, caused her some astonishment and terror: 
her favourite key of life — doing as she liked — 
seemed to fail her, and she could not foresee what 
at a given moment she might like to do. The 
prospect of marrying Grandcourt really seemed 
more attractive to her than she had believed be- 
forehand that any marriage could be: the dig- 
nities, the luxuries, the power of doing a great 
deal of what she liked to do, which had now come 
close to her, and within her choice to secure or to 
lose, took hold of her nature as if it had been the 
strong odour of what she had only imagined and 
longed for before. And Grandcourt himself? He 
seemed as little of a flaw in his fortunes as a 
lover and husband could possibly be. Gwendolen 
wished to mount the chariot and drive the plung- 
ing horses herself, with a spouse by her side who 
would fold his arms and give her his countenance 
without looking ridiculous. Certainly, with all her 
perspicacity, and all the reading which seemed to 
her mamma dangerously instructive, her judg- 
ment was consciously a little at fault before 
Grandcourt. He was adorably quiet and free 
from absurdities — he could be a husband en suite 


with the best appearance a woman could make. 
But what else was he ? He had been everywhere, 
and seen everything. That was desirable, and 
especially gratifying .as a preamble to his supreme 
preference for Gwendolen Harleth. He did not 
appear to enjoy anything much. That was not 
necessary : and the less he had of particular tastes 
or desires, the more freedom his wife was likely 
to have in following hers. Gwendolen conceived 
that after marriage she would most probably be 
able to manage him thoroughly. 

How was it that he caused her unusual con- 
straint now ? — that she was less daring and play- 
ful in her talk with him than with any other ad- 
mirer she had known ? That absence of demon- 
strativeness which she was glad of, acted as a 
charm in more senses than one, and was slightly 
benumbing. Grandcourt after all was formid- 
able — a handsome lizard of a hitherto unknown 
species, not of the lively, darting kind. But 
Gwendolen knew hardly anything about lizards, 
and ignorance gives one a large range of probabili- 
ties. This splendid specimen was probably gentle, 
suitable as a boudoir pet : what may not a lizard 
be, if you know nothing to the contrary ? Her 
acquaintance with Grandcourt was such that no 
accomplishment suddenly revealed in him would 


have surprised her. Aud he was so little sugges- 
tive of drama, that it hardly occurred to her to 
think with any detail how his life of thirty-six 
years had been passed : in general, she imagined 
him always cold and dignified, not likely ever to 
have committed himself He had hunted the 
tiger — had he ever been in love, or made love ? 
The one experience and the other seemed alike 
remote in Gwendolen's fancy from the Mr Grand- 
court who had come to Diplow in order apparently 
to make a chief epoch in her destiny— perhaps by 
introducing her to that state of marriage which she 
had resolved to make a state of greater freedom 
than her girlhood. And on the whole she wished 
to marry him ; he suited her purpose ; her prevail- 
ing, deliberate intention was, to accept him. 

But was she going to fulfil her deliberate in- 
tention ? She began to be afraid of herself, and 
to find out a certain difficulty in doing as she 
liked. Already her assertion of independence in 
evading his advances had been carried fartlwir 
than was necessary, and she was thinking with 
some anxiety what she might do on the next 

Seated according to her habit with her back to 
the horses on their drive homewards, she was 
completely under the observation of her mamma, 


who took the excitement and changefulness in the 
expression of her eyes, her unwonted absence of 
mind and total silence, as unmistakable signs 
that something unprecedented had occurred be- 
tween her and Grandcourt. Mrs Davilow's un- 
easiness determined her to risk some speech on the 
subject : the Gascoignes were to dine at Offendene, 
and in what had occurred this morning there might 
be some reason for consulting the Eector ; not 
that she expected him any more than herself to 
influence Gwendolen, but that her anxious mind 
wanted to be disburthened. 

" Something has happened, dear ? " she began, 
in a tender tone of question. 

Gwendolen looked round, and seeming to be 
roused to the consciousness of her physical self, 
took off her gloves and then her hat, that the soft 
breeze might blow on her head. They were in a 
retired bit of the road, where the long afternoon 
shadows from the bordering trees fell across it, and 
no observers were within sight. Her eyes con- 
tinued to meet her mother's, but she did not speak. 

"Mr Grandcourt has been saying something? 
— Tell me, dear." The last words were uttered 

"What am I to tell you, mamma?" was the 
perverse answer. 


" I am sure something has agitated you. You 
ought to confide in me, Gwen. You ought not to 
leave me in doubt and anxiety." Mrs Davilow's 
eyes filled with tears. 

" Mamma, dear, please don't be miserable," said 
Gwendolen, with pettish remonstrance. " It only 
makes me more so. I am in doubt myself." 

"About Mr Grandcourt's intentions?" said 
Mrs Dayilow, gathering determination from her 

" No ; not at all," said Gwendolen, with some 
curtness, and a pretty little toss of the head as 
she put on her hat again. 

" About whether you will accept him, then ? " 

" Precisely." 

" Have you given him a doubtful answer ? " 

" I have given him no answer at all." 

"He has spoken so that you could not misunder- 
stand him ? " 

" As far as I would let him speak." 

" You expect him to persevere ? " Mrs Davilow 
put this question rather anxiously, and receiving 
no answer, asked another. "You don't consider 
that you have discouraged him ? " 

" I daresay not." 

"I thought you liked him, dear," said Mrs 
Davilow, timidly. 


*' So I do, mamma, as liking goes. There is less 
to dislike about Mm than about most men. He 
is quiet and distingu4!' Gwendolen so far spoke 
with a pouting sort of gravity ; but suddenly she 
recovered some of her mischievousness, and her 
face broke into a smile as she added — " Indeed he 
has all the qualities that would make a husband 
tolerable — battlement, veranda, stables, &c., no 
grins and no glass in his eye." 

"Do be serious with me for a moment, dear. 
Am I to understand that you mean to accept 
him?" . 

" Oh pray, mamma, leave me to myself," said 
Gwendolen, with a pettish distress in her voice. 

And Mrs Davilow said no more. 

When they got home Gwendolen declared that 
she would not dine. She was tired, and would 
come down in the evening after she had taken 
some rest. The probability that her uncle would 
hear what had passed did not trouble her. She 
was convinced that whatever he might say would 
be on the side of her accepting Grandcourt, and 
she wished to accept him if she could. At this 
moment she would willingly have had weights 
hung on her own caprice. 

Mr Gascoigne did hear — not Gwendolen's 
answers repeated verbatim, but a softened general- 


ised account of them. The mother conveyed as 
vaguely as the keen Eector's questions would let 
her the impression that Gwendolen was in some 
uncertainty ahout her own mind, but inclined on 
the whole to acceptance. The result was that the 
uncle felt himself called on to interfere: he did 
not conceive that he should do his duty in with- 
holding direction from his niece in a momentous 
crisis of this kind. Mrs Davilow ventured a hesi- 
tating opinion that perhaps it would be safer to 
say nothing — Gwendolen was so sensitive (she did 
not like to say wilful). But the Eector's was a 
firm mind, grasping its first judgments tenaciously 
and acting on them promptly, whence counter- 
judgments were no more for him than shadows 
fleeting across the soUd ground to which he ad- 
justed himself. 

This match with Grandcourt presented itself to 
him as a sort of public affair ; perhaps there were 
ways in which it might even strengthen the Estab- 
lishment. To the Eector, whose father (nobody 
would have suspected it, and nobody was told) 
had risen to be a provincial corn-dealer, aristocra- 
tic heirship resembled regal heirship in excepting 
its possessor from the ordinary standard of moral 
judgments. Grandcourt, the almost certain baro- 
net, the probable peer, was to be ranged with pub- 


lie personages, and was a match to be accepted on 
broad general grounds national and ecclesiastical. 
Such public personages, it is true, are often in the 
nature of giants which an ancient community may- 
have felt pride and safety in possessing, though, 
regarded privately, these born eminences must 
often have been inconvenient and even noisome. 
But of the future husband personally Mr Gas- 
coigne was disposed to think the best. Gossip is 
a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco- 
pipes of those who diffuse it : it proves nothing 
but the bad taste of the smoker. But if Grand- 
court had really made any deeper or more unfor- 
tunate experiments in folly than were common in 
young men of high prospects, he was of an age to 
have finished them. All accounts can be suitably 
wound up when a man has not ruined himself, 
and the expense may be taken as an insurance 
against future error. This was the view of prac- 
tical wisdom ; with reference to higher views, re- 
pentance had a supreme moral and religious value. 
There was every reason to believe that a woman 
of well-regulated mind would be happy with 

It was no surprise to Gwendolen on coming 
down to tea to be told that her uncle wished to 
see her in the dining-room. He threw aside the 


paper as she entered and greeted her with his 
usual kindness. As his wife had remarked, he 
always " made much " of Gwendolen, and her im- 
portance had risen of late. " My dear," he said, iu 
a fatherly way, moving a chair for her as he held 
her hand, " I want to speak to you on a subject 
which is more momentous than any other with 
regard to your welfare. You will guess what I 
mean. But I shall speak to you with perfect 
directness: in such matters I consider myself 
bound to act as your father. You have no objec- 
tion, I hope ? " 

" Oh dear no, uncle. You have always been very 
kind to me," said Gwendolen, frankly. This even- 
ing she was willing, if it were possible, to be a 
little fortified against her troublesome seK, and 
her resistant temper was in abeyance. The Eec- 
tor's mode of speech always conveyed a thrill of 
authority, as of a word of command : it seemed to 
take for granted that there could be no wavering 
in the audience, and that every one was going to 
be rationally obedient. 

" It is naturally a satisfaction to me that the 
prospect of a marriage for you— advantageous in 
the highest degree — has presented itself so early. 
I do not know exactly what has passed between 
you and Mr Grandcourt, but I presume there can 


be little doubt, from the way in which he has dis- 
tinguished you, that he desires to make you his 

Gwendolen did not speak immediately, and her 
uncle said with more emphasis — 

"Have you any doubt of that yourself, my 

" I suppose that is what he has been thinking 
of But he may have changed his mind to-mor- 
row," said Gwendolen. 

"Why to-morrow? Has he made advances 
which you have discouraged ? " 

" I think he meant — he began to make advances 
— but I did not encourage them. I turned the 

"Will you confide in me so far as to tell me 
your reasons ? " 

" I am not sure that I had any reasons, uncle." 
Gwendolen laughed rather artificially. 

"You are quite capable of reflecting, Gwendo- 
len. You are aware that this is not a trivial oc- 
casion, and it concerns your establishment for life 
under circumstances which may not occur again. 
You have a duty here both to yourself and your 
family. I wish to understand whether you have 
any ground for hesitating as to your acceptance of 
Mr Grandcourt." 


" I suppose I hesitate without grounds." Gwen- 
dolen spoke rather poutingly, and her uncle grew 

" Is he disagreeable to you personally ? " 

" No." 

" Have you heard anything of him which has 
affected you disagreeably ? " The Eector thought 
it impossible that Gwendolen could have heard 
the gossip he had heard, but in any case he must 
endeavour to put all things in the right light for 

" I have heard nothing about him except that 
he is a great match," said Gwendolen, with some 
sauciness ; " and that affects me very agreeably." 

"Then, my dear Gwendolen, I have nothing 
further to say than this : you hold your fortune in 
your own hands — a fortune such as rarely happens 
to a girl in your circumstances — a fortune in fact 
which almost takes the question out of the range 
of mere personal feeling, and makes your accept- 
ance of it a duty. If Providence offers you power 
and position — especially when unclogged by any 
conditions that are repugnant to you — your course 
is one of responsibility, into which caprice must 
not enter. A man does not like to have his 
attachment trifled with : he may not be at once 
repelled — these things are matters of individual 


disposition. But the trifling may be carried too 
far. And I must point out to you that in case 
Mr Grandcourt were repelled without your having 
refused him — without your having intended ulti- 
mately to refuse him, your situation would be a 
humiliating and painful one. I, for my part, 
should regard you with severe disapprobation, as 
the victim of nothing else than your own coquetry 
and folly." 

Gwendolen became pallid as she listened to 
this admonitory speech. The ideas it raised had 
the force of sensations. Her resistant courage 
would not help her here, because her uncle was 
not urging her against her own resolve ; he was 
pressing upon her the motives of dread which she 
already felt ; he was making her more conscious 
of the risks that lay within herself. She was 
silent, and the Rector observed that he had pro- 
duced some strong effect. 

" I mean this in kindness, my dear." His tone 
had softened. 

" I am aware of that, uncle," said Gwendolen, 
rising and shaking her head back, as if to rouse 
herself out of painful passivity. " I am not 
foolish. I know that I must be married some 
time — before it is too late. And I don't see how 
I could do better than marry Mr Grandcourt. I 


mean to accept him, if possible." She felt as if 
she were reinforcing herself by speaking with this 
decisiveness to her uncle. 

But the Kector was a little startled by so bare 
a version of his own meaning from those youog 
lips. He wished that in her mind his advice 
should be taken in an infusion of sentiments 
proper to a girl, and such as are presupposed in 
the advice of a clergyman, although he may not 
consider them always appropriate to be put for- 
ward. He wished his niece parks, carriages, a 
title — everything that would make this world a 
pleasant abode ; but he wished her not to be cyni- 
cal — to be, on the contrary, religiously dutiful, 
and have warm domestic affections. 

" My dear Gwendolen," he said, rising also, and 
speaking with benignant gravity, "I trust that 
you will find in marriage a new fountain of duty 
and affection. Marriage is the only true and 
satisfactory sphere of a woman, and if your mar- 
riage with Mr Grandcourt should be happily de- 
cided upon, you will have probably an increasing 
power, both of rank and wealth, which may be 
used for the benefit of others. These considera- 
tions are something higher than romance. You 
are fitted by natural gifts for a position which» 
considering your birth and early prospects, could 

VOL. I. R 


hardly be looked forward to as in the ordinary- 
course of things ; and I trust that you will grace 
it not only by those personal gifts, but by a good 
and consistent life." 

"I hope mamma will be the happier," said 
Gwendolen, in a more cheerful way, lifting her 
hands backward to her neck and moving towards 
the door. She wanted to waive those higher con- 

Mr Gascoigne felt that he had come to a satis- 
factory understanding with his niece, and had 
furthered her happy settlement in life by further- 
ing her engagement to Grandcourt. Meanwhile 
there was another person to whom the contempla- 
tion of that issue had been a motive for some 
activity, and who believed that he too on this 
particular day had done something towards bring- 
ing about a favourable decision in his sense — 
which happened to be the reverse of the Eector's. 

Mr Lush's absence from Diplow during Gwen- 
dolen's visit had been due not to any fear on his 
part of meeting that supercilious young lady, or 
of being abashed by her frank dislike, but to an 
engagement from which he expected important 
consequences. He was gone in fact to the Wan- 
cester Station to meet a lady accompanied by a 
maid and two children, whom he put into a fly. 


and afterwards followed to the hotel of the Golden 
Keys in that town. An impressive woman, whom 
many would turn to look at again in passing ; her 
figure was slim and sufficiently tall, her face rather 
emaciated, so that its sculpturesque beauty was the 
more pronounced, her crisp hair perfectly black, 
and her large anxious eyes also what we call 
black. Her dress was soberly correct, her age 
perhaps physically more advanced than the num- 
ber of years would imply, but hardly less than 
seven-and-thirty. An uneasy-looking woman : her 
glance seemed to presuppose that people and 
things were going to be unfavourable to her, while 
she was nevertheless ready to meet them with 
resolution. The children were lovely — a dark- 
haired girl of six or more, a fairer boy of five. 
When Lush incautiously expressed some surprise 
at her having brought the children, she said with 
a sharp-edged intonation — 

"Did you suppose I should come wandering 
about here by myself? Why should I not bring 
aU four if I liked ?^' 

" Oh certainly," said Lush, with his usual fluent 

He stayed an hour or so in conference with her, 
and rode back to Diplow in a state of mind that 
was at once hopeful and busily anxious as to the 


execution of the little plan on whicli his hope- 
fulness was based. Grandcourt's marriage to 
Gwendolen Harleth would not, he believed, be 
much of a good to either of them, and it would 
plainly be fraught with disagreeables to himself. 
But now he felt confident enough to say inwardly, 
" I will take odds that the marriage will never 



I will not clothe myself in wreek — wear gems 
Sawed from cramped flnger-bones of women drowned ; 
Feel chilly vaporous hands of ireful ghosts 
Clutching my necklace ; trick my maiden breast 
With orphans' heritage. Let your dead love 
Many its dead. 

Gwendolen looked lovely and vigorous as a 
tall, newly-opened lily the next morning ; there 
was a reaction of young energy in her, and yes- 
terday's self-distrust seemed no more than the 
transient shiver on the surface of a full stream. 
The roving archery match in Cardell Chase was a 
delightful prospect for the sport's sake: she felt her- 
self beforehand moving about like a wood-nymph 
under the beeches (in appreciative company), 
and the imagined scene lent a charm to further 
advances on the part of Grandcourt — not an im- 
passioned lyi'ical Daphnis for the wood-nymph, 
certainly : but so much the better. To-day Gwen- 
dolen foresaw him making slow conversational 
approaches to a declaration, and foresaw herself 


awaiting and encouraging it according to the 
rational conclusion which she had expressed to 
her uncle. 

When she came down to breakfast (after every 
one had left the table except Mrs Davilow) there 
were letters on her plate. One of them she read 
with a gathering smile, and then handed it to her 
mamma, who, on returning it, smiled also, find- 
ing new cheerfulness in the good spirits her 
daughter had shown ever since waking, and said — 

" You don't feel inclined to go a thousand miles 

" Not exactly so far." 

"It was a sad omission not to have written 
again before this. Can't you write now — before 
we set out this morning ?" 

"It is not so pressing. To-morrow will do. 
You see they leave town to-day. I must write to 
Dover. They will be there till Monday." 

" Shall I write for you, dear — if it teases you V 

Gwendolen did not speak immediately, but 
after sipping her coffee answered brusquely, " Oh 
no, let it be ; I will write to - morrow." Then 
feeling a touch of compunction, she looked up and 
said with playful tenderness, " Dear, old, beautiful 
mamma ! " 

" Old, child, truly." 


" Please don't, mamma ! I meant old for 
darling. You are hardly twenty-five years older 
than I am. When you talk in that way my life 
shrivels up before me." 

"One can have a great deal of happiness in 
twenty-five years, my dear." 

" I must lose no time in beginning," said Gwen- 
dolen, merrily. "The sooner I get my palaces 
and coaches, the better." 

" And a good husband who adores you, Gwen," 
said Mrs Davilow, encouragingly. 

Gwendolen put out her lips saucily and said 

It was a slight drawback on her pleasure in 
starting that the Eector was detained by magis- 
trate's business and would probably not be able to 
get to Cardell Chase at all that day. She cared 
little that Mrs Gascoigne and Anna chose not to 
go without him, but her uncle's presence would 
have seemed to make it a matter of course that 
the decision taken would be acted on. For deci- 
sion in itself began to be formidable. Having 
come close to accepting Grandcourt, Gwendolen 
felt this lot of unhoped-for fulness rounding itself 
too definitely : when we take to wishing a great 
deal for ourselves, whatever we get soon turns 
into mere limitation and exclusion. Still there 


was the reassuring thought that marriage would 
be the gate into a larger freedom. 

The place of meeting was a grassy spot called 
Green Arbour, where a bit of hanging wood made 
a sheltering amphitheatre. It was here that the 
coachful of servants with provisions had to prepare 
the picnic meal; and a warden of the Chase was to 
guide the roving archers so as to keep them within 
the due distance from this centre, and hinder them 
from wandering beyond the limit which had been 
fixed on — a curve that might be drawn through 
certain well-known points, such as the Double 
Oak, the Whispering Stones, and the High Cross. 
The plan was, to take only a preliminary stroll 
before luncheon, keeping the main roving expedi- 
tion for the more exquisite lights of the afternoon. 
The muster was rapid enough to save every one 
from dull moments of waiting, and when the 
groups began to scatter themselves through the 
light and shadow made here by closely neigh- 
bouring beeches and there by rarer oaks, one may 
suppose that a painter would have been glad to 
look on. This roving archery was far prettier 
than the stationary game, but success in shooting 
at variable marks was less favoured by practice, 
and the hits were distributed among the volunteer 
archers otherwise than they would have been 


in target-shootiug. From this cause perhaps, as 
well as from the twofold distraction of being 
preoccupied and wishing not to betray her pre- 
occupation, Gwendolen did not greatly distinguish 
herself in these first experiments, unless it were 
by the lively grace with which she took her 
comparative failure. She was in her white and 
green as on the day of the former archery meeting, 
when it made an epoch for her that she was 
introduced to Grandcourt ; he was continually by 
her side now, yet it would have been hard to 
tell from mere looks and manners that their rela- 
tion to each other had at all changed since their 
first conversation. Still there were other grounds 
that made most persons conclude them to be, 
if not engaged already, on the eve of being so. 
And she believed this herself. As they were all re- 
turning towards Green Arbour in divergent groups, 
not thinking at all of taking aim but merely chat- 
ting, words passed which seemed really the begin- 
ning of that end — the beginning of her acceptance. 
Grandcourt said, "Do you know how long it is 
since I first saw you in this dress ? " 

"The archery meeting was on the 25th, and 
this is the 13th," said Gwendolen, laughingly. " I 
am not good at calculating, but I will venture to 
say that it must be nearly three weeks." 


A little pause, and then lie said, " That is a 
great loss of time." 

" That your knowing me has caused you ? Pray 
don't be uncomplimentary : I don't like it/' 

Pause again. " It is because of the gain, that I 
feel the loss." 

Here Gwendolen herself left a pause. She was 
thinking, " He is really very ingenious. He never 
speaks stupidly." Her silence was so unusual, 
that it seemed the strongest of favourable answers, 
and he continued — 

" The gain of knowing you makes me feel the 
time I lose in uncertainty. Do you like uncer- 

" I think I do, rather," said Gwendolen, sud- 
denly beaming on him with a playful smile. 
" There is more in it." 

Grandcourt met her laughing eyes with a slow, 
steady look right into them, which seemed like 
vision in the abstract, and said, " Do you mean 
more torment for me ?" 

There was something so strange to Gwendolen 
in this moment that she was quite shaken out of 
her usual self-consciousness. Blushing and turn- 
ing away her eyes, she said, " No, that would 
make me sorry." 

Grandcourt would have followed up this answer, 


which the change in her manner made apparently 
decisive of her favourable intention ; but he was 
not in any way overcome so as to be unaware 
that they were now, within sight of everybody, 
descending the slope into Green Arbour, and 
descending it at an ill-chosen point where it began 
to be inconveniently steep. This was a reason for 
offering his hand in the literal sense to help her ; 
she took it, and they came down in silence, much 
observed by those already on the level — among 
others by Mrs Arrowpoint, who happened to be 
standing with Mrs Davilow. That lady had now 
made up her mind that Grandcourt's merits were 
not such as would have induced Catherine to 
accept him, Catherine having so high a standard 
as to have refused Lord Slogan. Hence she looked 
at the tenant of Diplow with dispassionate eyes. 

" Mr Grandcourt is not equal as a man to his 
uncle. Sir Hugo Mallinger — too languid. To be 
sure, Mr Grandcourt is a much younger man, but 
I shouldn't wonder if Sir Hugo were to outlive 
him, notwithstanding the difference of years. It 
is ill calculating • on successions," concluded Mrs 
Arrowpoint, rather too loudly. 

" It is indeed," said Mrs Davilow, able to assent 
with quiet cheerfulness, for she was so well satis- 
fied with the actual situation of affairs that her 


habitual melancholy in their general unsatisfac- 
toriness was altogether in abeyance. 

I am not concerned to tell of the food that was 
eaten in that green refectory, or even to dwell on 
the glories of the forest scenery that spread them- 
selves out beyond the level front of the hollow ; 
being just now bound to tell a story of life at a 
stage when the blissful beauty of earth and sky 
entered only by narrow and oblique inlets into the 
consciousness, which was busy with a small social 
drama almost as little penetrated by a feeling of 
wider relations as if it had been a puppet-show. 
It will be understood that the food and champagne 
were of the best — the talk and laughter too, in the 
sense of belonging to the best society, where no 
one makes an invidious display of anything in 
particular, and the advantages of the world are 
taken with that high - bred depreciation which 
follows from being accustomed to them. Some of 
the gentlemen strolled a little and indulged in a 
cigar, there being a sufficient interval before four 
o'clock — the time for beginning to rove again. 
Among these, strange to say, was Grandcourt; but 
not Mr Lush, who seemed to be taking his plea- 
sure quite generously to-day by making himself 
particularly serviceable, ordering everything for 
everybody, and by this activity becoming more 


than ever a blot on the scene to Gwendolen, 
though he kept himself amiably aloof from her, 
and never even looked at her obviously. When 
there was a general move to prepare for starting, it 
appeared that the bows had all been put under the 
charge of Lord Brackenshaw's valet, and Mr Lush 
was concerned to save ladies the trouble of fetch- 
ing theirs from the carriage where they were prop- 
ped. He did not intend to bring Gwendolen's, 
but she, fearful lest he should do so, hurried to 
fetch it herself. The valet seeing her approach met 
her with it, and in giving it into her hand gave 
also a letter addressed to her. She asked no 
question about it, perceived at a glance that the 
address was in a lady's handwriting (of the deli- 
cate kind which used to be esteemed feminine 
before the present uncial period), and moving 
away with her bow in her hand, saw Mr Lush 
coming to fetch other bows. To avoid meeting 
him she turned aside and walked with her back 
towards the stand of carriages, opening the letter. 
It contained these words — 

" If Miss Harleth is in doubt whether she should 
accept Mr Grandcourt, let her hreah from her party 
after they have passed the Whispering Stones and 
return to that spot. She will then hear something to 
decide her, hut she can only hear it hy TceepiTig this 


letter a strict secret from every one. If she does not 
act according to this letter, she will repent, as the 
woman who writes it has repented. The secrecy 
Miss Harleth will feel herself hound in honour to 

Gwendolen felt an inward shock, but her im- 
mediate thought was, "It is come in time." It 
lay in her youthfulness that she was absorbed by 
the idea of the revelation to be made, and had not 
even a momentary suspicion of contrivance that 
could justify her in showing the letter. Her mind 
gathered itself up at once into the resolution that 
she would manage to go unobserved to the 
Whispering Stones ; and thrusting the letter into 
her pocket she turned back to rejoin the company, 
with that sense of having something to conceal 
which to her nature had a bracing quality and 
helped her to be mistress of herself. 

It was a surprise to every one that Grandcourt 
was not, like the other smokers, on the spot in 
time to set out roving with the rest. " We shall 
alight on him by-and-by," said Lord Brackenshaw ; 
"he can't be gone far." At any rate, no man 
could be waited for. This apparent forgetfulness 
might be taken for the distraction of a lover so 
absorbed in thinking of the beloved object as to 


forget an appointment which would bring him 
into her actual presence. And the good-natured 
Earl gave Gwendolen a distant jocose hint to that 
effect, which she took with suitable quietude. 
But the thought in her own mind was, " Can he 
too be starting away from a decision ? " It was 
not exactly a pleasant thought to her ; but it was 
near the truth. " Starting away," however, was 
not the right expression for the languor of inten- 
tion that came over Grandcourt, like a fit of 
diseased numbness, when an end seemed within 
easy reach : to desist then, when all expectation 
was to the contrary, became another gratification 
of mere will, sublimely independent of definite 
motive. At that moment he had begun a second 
large cigar in a vague, hazy obstinacy which, if 
Lush or any other mortal who might be insulted 
with impunity had interrupted by overtaking him 
with a request for his return, would have expressed 
itself by a slow removal of his cigar to say, in an 
under-tone, " You'll be kind enough to go to the 
devil, will you ? " 

But he was not interrupted, and the rovers set 
off without any visible depression of spirits, leav- 
ing behind only a few of the less vigorous ladies, 
including Mrs Davilow, who preferred a quiet 
stroll free from obligation to keep up with others. 


The enjoyment of the day was soon at its highest 
pitch, the archery getting more spirited and the 
changing scenes of the forest from roofed grove to 
open glade growing lovelier with the lengthening 
shadows, and the deeply felt but undefinable 
gradations of the mellowing afternoon. It was 
agreed that they were playing an extemporised 
" As you like it ; " and when a pretty compliment 
had been turned to Gwendolen about her having 
the part of Eosalind, she felt the more compelled 
to be surpassing in liveliness. This was not very 
difficult to her, for the effect of what had happened 
to-day was an excitement which needed a vent, a 
sense of adventure rather than alarm, and a strain- 
ing towards the management of her retreat so as 
not to be impeded. 

The roving had been lasting nearly an hour be- 
fore the arrival at the Whispering Stones, two tall 
conical blocks that leaned towards each other like 
gigantic grey -mantled figures. They were soon 
surveyed and passed by with the remark that they 
would be good ghosts on a starlit night. But a 
soft sunlight was on them now, and Gwendolen 
felt daring. The stones were near a fine grove 
of beeches where the archers found plenty of 

"How far are we from Green Arbour now?" 


said Gwendolen, having got in front by the side of 
the warden. 

" Oh, not more than half a mile, taking along the 
avenue we're going to cross up there : but I shall 
take round a couple of miles, by the High Cross." 

She was falling back among the rest, when 
suddenly they seemed all to be hurrying obliquely 
forward under the guidance of Mr Lush, and 
lingering a little where she was, she perceived her 
opportunity of slipping away. Soon she was out 
of sight, and without running she seemed to her- 
self to fly along the ground and count the mo- 
ments nothing till she found herself back again at 
the Whispering Stones. They turned their blank 
grey sides to her: what was there on the other 
side ? If there were nothing after all ? That was 
her only dread now — to have to turn back again in 
mystification ; and walking round the right-hand 
stone without pause, she found herself in front 
of some one whose large dark eyes met hers at a 
foot's distance. In spite of expectation she was 
startled and shrank back, but in doing so she 
could take in the whole figure of this stranger and 
perceive that she was unmistakably a lady, and 
one who must once have been exceedingly hand- 
some. She perceived, also, that a few yards from 
her were two children seated on the grass. 

VOL. L s 


" Miss Harleth ? *' said tlie lady. 

"Yes." All Gwendolen's consciousness was 

" Have you accepted Mr Grandcourt ? " 

" No." 

" I have promised to tell you something. And 
you will promise to keep my secret. However 
you may decide, you will not tell Mr Grandcourt, 
or any one else, that you have seen me ? " 

" I promise." 

" My name is Lydia Glasher. Mr Grandcourt 
ought not to marry any one but me. I left my 
husband and child for him nine years ago. Those 
two children are his, and we have two others — 
girls — who are older. My husband is dead now, 
and Mr Grandcourt ought to marry me. He ought 
to make that boy his heir." 

She looked towards the boy as she spoke, and 
Gwendolen's eyes followed hers. The handsome 
little fellow was puffing out his cheeks in trying to 
blow a tiny trumpet which remained dumb. His 
hat hung backward by a string, and his brown 
curls caught the sun-rays. He was a cherub. 

The two women's eyes met again, and Gwen- 
dolen said proudly, " I will not interfere with your 
wishes." She looked as if she were shivering, and 
her lips were pale. 


" You are very attractive. Miss Harleth. But 
when he first knew me, I too was young. Since 
then my life has been broken up and embittered. 
It is not fair that he should be happy and I 
miserable, and my boy thrust out of sight for 

These words were uttered with a biting accent, 
but with a determined abstinence from anything 
violent in tone or manner. Gwendolen, watching 
Mrs Glasher's face while she spoke, felt a sort of 
terror : it was as if some ghastly vision had come 
to her in a dream and said, " I am a woman's life." 

" Have you anything more to say to me ? " she 
asked in a low tone, but still proudly and coldly. 
The revulsion within her was not tending to soften 
her. Every one seemed hateful 

" Nothing. You know what I wished you to 
know. You can inquire about me if you like. 
My husband was Colonel Glasher." 

"Then I will go," said Gwendolen, moving 
away with a ceremonious inclination, which was 
returned with equal grace. 

In a few minutes Gwendolen was in the beech 
grove again, but her party had gone out of sight 
and apparently had not sent in search of her, for 
all was solitude till she had reached the avenue 
pointed out by the warden. She determined to 


take this way back to Green Arbour, which she 
reached quickly ; rapid movements seeming to her 
just now a means of suspending the thoughts 
which might prevent her from behaving with due 
calm. She had already made up her mind what 
step she would take. 

Mrs Davilow was of course astonished to see 
Gwendolen returning alone, and was not without 
some uneasiness which the presence of other ladies 
hindered her from showing. In answer to her 
words of surprise Gwendolen said — 

" Oh, I have been rather silly. I lingered behind 
to look at the Whispering Stones, and the rest 
hurried on after something, so I lost sight of them. 
I thought it best to come home by the short way 
— ^the avenue that the warden had told me of. I'm 
not sorry after all. I had had enough walking." 

"Your party did not meet Mr Grandcourt, I 
presume," said Mrs Arrowpoint, not without in- 

"No," said Gwendolen, with a little flash of 
defiance and a light laugh. " And we didn't see 
any carvings on the trees either. Where can he 
be ? I should think he has fallen into the pool or 
had an apoplectic fit." 

With all Gwendolen's resolve not to betray any 
agitation, she could not help it that her tone was 


unusually high and hard, and her mother felt sure 
that something unpropitious had happened. 

Mrs Arrowpoint thought that the self-confident 
young lady was much piqued, and that Mr Grand- 
court was probably seeing reason to change his 

" If you have no objection, mamma, I will order 
the carriage," said Gwendolen. " I am tired. 
And every one will be going soon." 

Mrs Davilow assented ; but by the time the car- 
riage was announced as ready — the horses having 
to be fetched from the stables on the warden's 
premises — the roving party reappeared, and with 
them Mr Grandcourt. 

" Ah, there you are ! " said Lord Brackenshaw, 
going up to Gwendolen, who was arranging her 
mamma's shawl for the drive. " We thought at 
first you had alighted on Grandcourt and he had 
taken you home. Lush said so. But after that 
we met Grandcourt. However, we didn't suppose 
you could be in any danger. The warden said he 
had told you a near way back." 

" You are going ? " said Grandcourt, coming up 
with his usual air, as if he did not conceive that 
there had been any omission on his part. Lord 
Brackenshaw gave place to him and moved away. 

" Yes, we are going," said Gwendolen, looking 


busily at her scarf which she was arranging across 
her shoulders Scotch fashion. 

" May I call at Offendene to-morrow ? " 

" Oh yes, if you like," said Gwendolen, sweeping 
him from a distance with her eyelashes. Her 
voice was light and sharp as the first touch of 

Mrs Davilow accepted his arm to lead her to the 
carriage ; but while that was happening, Gwendolen 
with incredible swiftness had got in advance of 
them and had sprung into the carriage. 

" I got in, mamma, because I wished to be on 
this side," she said, apologetically. But she had 
avoided Grandcourt's touch: he only lifted his 
hat and walked away — with the not unsatisfac- 
tory impression that she meant to show herself 
offended by his neglect. 

The mother and daughter drove for five minutes 
in silence. Then Gwendolen said, " I intend to 
join the Langens at Dover, mamma. I shall pack 
up immediately on getting home, and set off by 
the early train. I shall be at Dover almost as soon 
as they are ; we can let them know by telegraph." 

" Good heavens, child ! what can be your reason 
for sajdng so ? " 

" My reason for saying it, mamma, is that I 
mean to do it." 


" But why do you mean to do it ? " 

" I wish to go away." 

*' Is it because you are offended with Mr Grand- 
court's odd behaviour in walking off to-day ? " 

" It is useless to enter into such questions. I 
am not going in any case to marry Mr Grandcourt. 
Don't interest yourself further about him." 

" What can I say to your uncle, Gwendolen ? 
Consider the position you place me in. You led 
him to believe only last night that you had made 
up your mind in favour of Mr Grandcourt." 

"I am very sorry to cause you annoyance, 
mamma dear, but I can't help it," said Gwen- 
dolen, with still harder resistance in her tone. 
"Whatever you or my uncle may think or do, 
I shall not alter my resolve, and I shall not tell 
my reason. I don't care what comes of it. I don't 
care if I never marry any one. There is nothing 
worth caring for. I believe all m^n are bad, and 
I hate them." 

" But need you set off in this way, Gwendolen ? " 
said Mrs Davilow, miserable and helpless. 

"Now, mamma, don't interfere with me. If 
you have ever had any trouble in your own life, re- 
member it, and don't interfere with me. If I am 
to be miserable, let it be by my own choice." 

The mother was reduced to trembling silence. 


She began to see that the difficulty would be less- 
ened if Gwendolen went away. 

And she did go. The packing was all carefully 
done that evening, and not long after dawn the 
next day Mrs Davilow accompanied her daughter 
to the railway station. The sweet dews of morn- 
ing, the cows and horses looking over the hedges 
without any particular reason, the early travel- 
lers on foot with their bundles, seemed all very 
melancholy and purposeless to them both. The 
dingy torpor of the railway station, before the ticket 
could be taken, was still worse. Gwendolen had 
certainly hardened in the last twenty-four hours : 
her mother's trouble evidently counted for little 
in her present state of mind, which did not essen- 
tially differ from the mood that makes men take 
to worse conduct when their belief in persons or 
things is upset. Gwendolen's uncontrolled read- 
ing, though consisting chiefly in what are called 
pictures of life, had somehow not prepared her for 
this encounter with reality. Is that surprising ? 
It is to be believed that attendance at the op4ra 
houffe in the present day would not leave men's 
minds entirely without shock, if the manners ob- 
served there with some applause were suddenly to 
start up in their own families. Perspective, as its 
inventor remarked, is a beautiful thing. What 


horrors of damp huts, where human beings lan- 
guish, may not become picturesque through aerial 
distance ! What hymning of cancerous vices may 
we not languish over as sublimest art in the safe 
remoteness of a strange language and artificial 
phrase ! Yet we keep a repugnance to rheum- 
atism and other painful effects when presented in 
our personal experience. 

Mrs Davilow felt Gwendolen's new phase of 
indifference keenly, and as she drove back alone, 
the brightening morning was sadder to her than 

Mr Grandcourt called that day at Offendene, 
but nobody was at home. 



" Festinalente — celerity should be contempered with cunctation. "— Sir 
Thomas Browne. 

Gwendolen, we have seen, passed her time abroad 
in the new excitement of gambling, and in ima- 
gining herself an empress of luck, having brought 
from her late experience a vague impression that 
in this confused world it signified nothing what 
any one did, so that they amused themselves. We 
have seen, too, that certain persons, mysteriously 
symbolised as Grapnell and Co., having also 
thought of reigning in the realm of luck, and 
being also bent on amusing themselves, no matter 
how, had brought about a painful change in her 
family circumstances; whence she had returned 
home — carrying with her, against her inclination, 
a necklace which she had pawned and some one 
else had redeemed. 

While she was going back to England, Grand- 
court was coming to find her; coming, that is. 


after his own manner — not in haste by express 
straight from Diplow to Leubronn, where she was 
understood to be ; but so entirely without hurry 
that he was induced by the presence of some Rus- 
sian acquaintances to linger at Baden-Baden and 
make various appointments with them, which, how- 
ever, his desire to be at Leubronn ultimately caused 
him to break. Grandcourt's passions were of the 
intermittent, flickering kind : never flaming out 
strongly. But a great deal of life goes on without 
strong passion: myriads of cravats are carefully 
tied, dinners attended, even speeches made propos- 
ing the health of august personages, without the 
zest arising from a strong desire. And a man may 
make a good appearance in high social positions 
— may be supposed to know the classics, to have 
his reserves on science, a strong though repressed 
opinion on politics, and all the sentiments of the 
English gentleman, at a small expense of vital 
energy. Also, he may be obstinate or persistent 
at the same low rate, and may even show sudden 
impulses which have a false air of daemonic 
strength because they seem inexplicable, though, 
perhaps their secret lies merely in the want of 
regulated channels for the soul to move in — good 
and sufficient ducts of habit, without which our 
nature easily turns to mere ooze and mud, and 


at any pressure yields nothing but a spurt or a 

Grandcourt liad not been altogether displeased 
by Gwendolen's running away from the splendid 
chance he was holding out to her. The act had 
some piquancy for him. He liked to think that it 
was due to resentment of his careless behaviour in 
Cardell Chase, which, when he came to consider 
it, did appear rather cool. To have brought her so 
near a tender admission, and then to have walked 
headlong away from further opportunities of win- 
ning the consent which he had made her under- 
stand him to be asking for, was enough to pro- 
voke a girl of spirit ; and to be worth his master- 
ing it was proper that she should have some spirit. 
Doubtless she meant him to follow her, and it was 
what he meant too. But for a whole week he 
took no measures towards starting, and did not 
even inquire where Miss Harleth was gone. Mr 
Lush felt a triumph that was mingled with much 
distrust ; for Grandcourt had said no word to him 
about her, and looked as neutral as an alligator : 
there was no telling what might turn up in the 
slowly-churning chances of his mind. Still, to 
have put off a decision was to have made room 
for the waste of Grandcourt's energy. 

The guests at Diplow felt more curiosity than 


their host. How was it that nothing more was 
heard of Miss Harleth ? Was it credible that she 
had refused Mr Grandcourt ? Lady Flora Hollis, 
a lively middle-aged woman, well endowed with 
curiosity, felt a sudden interest in making a round 
of calls with Mrs Torrington, including the Eec- 
tory, Offendene, and Quetcham, and thus not only 
got twice over, but also discussed with the Arrow- 
points, the information that Miss Harleth was gone 
to Leubronn with some old friends, the Baron and 
Baroness von Langen ; for the immediate agitation 
and disappointment of Mrs Davilow and the Gas- 
coignes had resolved itself into a wish that Gwen- 
dolen's disappearance should not be interpreted 
as anything eccentric or needful to be kept secret. 
The Kector's mind, indeed, entertained the possi- 
bility that the marriage was only a little deferred, 
for Mrs Davilow had not dared to tell him of the 
bitter determination with which Gwendolen had 
spoken. And in spite of his practical ability, 
some of his experience had petrified into maxims 
and quotations. Amaryllis fleeing desired that 
her hiding-place should be known ; and that love 
will find out the way " over the mountain and over 
the wave " may be said without hyperbole in this 
age of steam. Gwendolen, he conceived, was an 
Amaryllis of excellent sense but coquettish dar- 


ing ; the question was, whether she had dared too 

Lady Flora, coining back charged with news 
about Miss Harleth, saw no good reason why she 
should not try whether she could electrify Mr 
Grandcourt by mentioning it to him at table ; and 
in doing so shot a few hints of a notion having 
got abroad that he was a disappointed adorer. 
Grandcourt heard with quietude, but with atten- 
tion ; and the next day he ordered Lush to bring 
about a decent reason for breaking up the party 
at Diplow by the end of another week, as he meant 
to go yachting to the Baltic or somewhere — it 
being impossible to stay at Diplow as if he were 
a prisoner on parole, with a set of people whom 
he had never wanted. Lush needed no clearer 
announcement that Grandcourt was going to Leu- 
bronn ; but he might go after the manner of a 
creeping billiard - ball and stick on the way. 
What Mr Lush intended was to make himself 
indispensable so that he might go too, and he suc- 
ceeded; Gwendolen's repulsion for him being a 
fact that only amused his patron, and made him 
none the less willing to have Lush always at 

This was how it happened that Grandcourt 
arrived at the Czarina on the fifth day after 


Gwendolen had left Leubronn, and found there 
his uncle, Sir Hugo Mallinger, with his family, 
including Deronda. It is not necessarily a plea- 
sure either to the reigning power or the heir pre- 
sumptive when their separate affairs — a touch of 
gout, say, in the one, and a touch of wilfulness 
in the other — happen to bring them to the same 
spot. Sir Hugo was an easy-tempered man, tole- 
rant both of differences and defects ; but a point 
of view different from his own concerning the 
settlement of the family estates fretted him rather 
more than if it had concerned Church discipline 
or the ballot, and faults were the less venial for 
belonging to a person whose existence was incon- 
venient to him. In no case could Grandcourt 
have been a nephew after his own heart ; but as 
the presumptive heir to the Mallinger estates he 
was the sign and embodiment of a chief grievance 
in the baronet's life — the want of a son to inherit 
the lands, in no portion of which had he himself 
more than a life-interest. For in the ill-advised 
settlement which his father, Sir Francis, had 
chosen to make by will, even Diplow with its 
modicum of land had been left under the same 
conditions as the ancient and wide inheritance of 
the two Toppings — Diplow, where Sir Hugo had 
lived and hunted through many a season in his 


younger years, and where his wife and daughters 
ought to have been able to retire after his death. 

This grievance had naturally gathered em- 
phasis as the years advanced, and Lady Mallinger, 
after having had three daughters in quick succes- 
sion, had remained for eight years till now that 
she was over forty without producing so much as 
another girl; while Sir Hugo, almost twenty years 
older, was at a time of life when, notwithstanding 
the fashionable retardation of most things from 
dinners to marriages, a man's hopefulness is apt 
to show signs of wear, until restored by second 

In fact, he had begun to despair of a son, and 
this confirmation of Grandcourt's interest in the 
estates certainly tended to make his image and 
presence the more unwelcome ; but, on the other 
hand, it carried circumstances which disposed Sir 
Hugo to take care that the relation between them 
should be kept as friendly as possible. It led 
him to dwell on a plan which had grown up side 
by side with his disappointment of an heir ; 
namely, to try and secure Diplow as a future 
residence for Lady Mallinger and her daughters, 
and keep this pretty bit of the family inheritance 
for his own offspring in spite of that disappoint- 
ment. Such knowledge as he had of his nephew's 


disposition and affairs encouraged the belief that 
Grandcourt might consent to a transaction by 
which he would get a good sum of ready money, 
as an equivalent for his prospective interest in 
the domain of Diplow and the moderate amount 
of land attached to it. If, after all, the unhoped- 
for son should be born, the money would have 
been thrown away, and Grandcourt would have 
been paid for giving up interests that had turned 
out good for nothing ; but Sir Hugo set down this 
risk as nil, and of late years he had husbanded 
his fortune so well by the working of mines and 
the sale of leases that he was prepared for an 

Here was an object that made him careful to 
avoid any quarrel with Grandcourt. Some years 
before, when he was making improvements at the 
Abbey, and needed Grandcourt's concurrence in 
his felling an obstructive mass of timber on the 
demesne, he had congratulated himself on finding 
that there was no active spite against him in his 
nephew's peculiar mind; and nothing had since 
occurred to make them hate each other more than 
was compatible with perfect politeness, or with 
any accommodation that could be strictly mutual 

Grandcourt, on his side, thought his uncle a 
superfluity and a bore, and felt that the list of 

VOL. I. T 


things in general would be improved whenever 
Sir Hugo came to be expunged. But he had been 
made aware through Lush, always a useful me- 
dium, of the baronet's inclinations concerning 
Diplow, and he was gratified to have the alterna- 
tive of the money in his mind : even if he had not 
thought it in the least likely that he would choose 
to accept it, his sense of power would have been 
flattered by his being able to refuse what Sir 
Hugo desired. The hinted transaction had told 
for something among the motives which had 
made him ask for a year's tenancy of Diplow, 
which it had rather annoyed Sir Hugo to grant, 
because the excellent hunting in the neighbour- 
hood might decide Grandcourt not to part with 
his chance of future possession ; — a man who has 
two places, in one of which the hunting is less 
good, naturally desiring a third where it is better. 
Also, Lush had thrown out to Sir Hugo the pro- 
bability that Grandcourt would woo and win 
Miss Arrowpoint, and in that case ready money 
might be less of a temptation to him. Hence, 
on this unexpected meeting at Leubronn, the 
baronet felt much curiosity to know how things 
had been going on at Diplow, was bent on being 
as civil as possible to his nephew, and looked for- 
ward to some private chat with Lush. 


Between Deronda and Grandcourt there was 
a more faintly marked but peculiar relation, de- 
pending on circumstances which have yet to be 
made known. But on no side was there any sign 
of suppressed chagrin on the first meeting at the 
table d'hSte, an hour after Grandcourt's arrival; 
and when the quartette of gentlemen afterwards 
met on the terrace, without Lady Mallinger, they 
moved off together to saunter through the rooms, 
Sir Hugo saying as they entered the large saal — 

" Did you play much at Baden, Grandcourt ? " 

" No ; I looked on and betted a little with some 
Russians there." 

"Had you luck?" 

« What did I win. Lush ? " 

" You brought away about two hundred," said 

"You are not here for the sake of the play, 
then?" said Sir Hugo. 

" No ; I don't care about play now. It's a 
confounded strain," said Grandcourt, whose dia- 
mond ring and demeanour, as he moved along 
playing slightly with his whisker, were being a 
good deal stared at by rouged foreigners interested 
in a new milord. 

*' The fact is, somebody should invent a mill to 
do amusements for you, my dear fellow," said Sir 


Hugo, "as the Tartars get their praying done. 
But I agree with you ; I never cared for play. It's 
monotonous — knits the brain up into meshes. 
And it knocks me up to watch it now. I suppose 
one gets poisoned with the bad air. I never stay 
here more than ten minutes. But where's your 
gambling beauty, Deronda ? Have you seen her 

" She's gone," said Deronda, curtly. 

"An uncommonly fine girl, a perfect Diana," 
said Sir Hugo, turning to Grandcourt again. 
"Eeally worth a little straining to look at her. 
I saw her winning, and she took it as coolly as 
if she had known it all beforehand. The same day 
Deronda happened to see her losing like wildiire, 
and she bore it with immense pluck. I suppose 
she was cleaned out, or was wise enough to stop 
in time. How do you know she's gone ? " 

" Oh, by the Visitor-list," said Deronda, with a 
scarcely perceptible shrug. "Vandernoodt told 
me her name was Harleth, and she was with the 
Baron and Baroness von Langen. I saw by the 
list that Miss Harleth was no longer there." 

This held no further information for Lush than 
that Gwendolen had been gambling. He had 
already looked at the list, and ascertained that 
Gwendolen had gone, but he had no intention 


of thrusting this knowledge on Grandcourt before 
he asked for it ; and he had not asked, finding it 
enough to believe that the object of search would 
turn up somewhere or other. 

But now Grandcourt had heard what was rather 
piquant, and not a word about Miss Harleth had 
been missed by him. After a moment's pause he 
said to Deronda — 

" Do you know those people — the Langens ? " 
** I have talked with them a little since Miss 
Harleth went away. I knew nothing of them 

" Where is she gone — do you know ? " 
" She is gone home," said Deronda, coldly, as if 
he wished to say no more. But then, from a fresh 
impulse, he turned to look markedly at Grand- 
court, and added, " But it is possible you know 
her. Her home is not far from Diplow : Offen- 
dene, near Wancester." 

Deronda, turning to look straight at Grandcourt 
who was on his left hand, might have been a sub- 
ject for those old painters who liked contrasts of 
temperament. There was a calm intensity of life 
and richness of tint in his face that on a sudden 
gaze from him was rather startling, and often 
made him seem to have spoken, so that servants 
and officials asked him automatically, " what did 


you say, sir ? " when he had been quite silent. 
Grandcourt himself felt an irritation, which he did 
not show except by a slight movement of the eye- 
lids, at Deronda's turning round on him when he 
was not asked to do more than speak. But he 
answered, with his usual drawl, "Yes, I know 
her/' and paused with his shoulder towards 
Deronda, to look at the gambling. 

" What of her, eh ? " asked Sir Hugo of Lush, 
as the three moved on a little way. " She must 
be a new-comer at Offendene. Old Blenny lived 
there after the dowager died." 

" A little too much of her," said Lush, in a low, 
significant tone ; not sorry to let Sir Hugo know 
the state of affairs. 

"Why? how?" said the baronet. They all 
moved out of the salon into a more airy promenade. 

" He has been on the brink of marrying her," 
Lush went on. " But I hope it's off now. She's a 
niece of the clergyman — Gascoigne — at Pennicote. 
Her mother is a widow with a brood of daughters. 
This girl will have nothing, and is as dangerous 
as gunpowder. It would be a foolish marriage. 
But she has taken a freak against him, for she 
ran off here without notice, when he had agreed 
to call the next day. The fact is, he's here after 
her ; but he was in no great hurry, and between 


his caprice and hers they are likely enough not 
to get together again. But of course he has lost 
his chance with the heiress." 

Grandcourt joining them said, " What a beastly 
den this is ! — a worse hole than Baden. I shall 
go back to the hotel." 

When Sir Hugo and Deronda were alone, the 
baronet began — 

" Eather a pretty story. That girl has some 
drama in her. She must be worth running after — 
has de Vimprhu. I think her appearance on the 
scene has bettered my chance of getting Diplow, 
whether the marriage comes off or not." 

" I should hope a marriage like that would not 
come off," said Deronda, in a tone of disgust. 

" What ! are you a little touched with the sub- 
lime lash?" said Sir Hugo, putting up his glasses 
to help his short sight in looking at his com- 
panion. " Are you inclined to run after her ? " 

" On the contrary," said Deronda, " I should 
rather be inclined to run away from her." 

" Why, you would easily cut out Grandcourt. 
A girl with her spirit would think you the finer 
match of the two," said Sir Hugo, who often tried 
Deronda's patience by finding a joke in impossible 
advice. (A difference of taste in jokes is a great 
strain on the affections.) 


*' I suppose pedigree and land belong to a fine 
match," said Deronda, coldly. 

" The best horse will win in spite of pedigree, 
my boy. You remember Napoleon's mot — Je suis 
ancetre" said Sir Hugo, who habitually under- 
valued birth, as men after dining well often agree 
that the good of life is distributed with wonderful 

" I am not sure that I want to be an ancestor," 
said Deronda. " It doesn't seem to me the rarest 
sort of origination." 

" You won't run after the pretty gambler, then ? " 
said Sir Hugo, putting down his glasses. 

" Decidedly not.'* 

This answer was perfectly truthful; nevertheless 
it had passed through Deronda's mind that under 
other circumstances he should have given way to 
the interest this girl had raised in him, and tried 
to know more of her. But his history had given 
him a stronger bias in another direction. He felt 
himself in no sense free. 



Men, like planets, have both a visible and an invisible history. The 
astronomer threads the darkness with strict deduction, accounting so for 
every visible arc in the wanderer's orbit ; and the narrator of human actions, 
if he did his work with the same completeness, would have to thread the 
hidden pathways of feeling and thought which lead up to every moment of 
action, and to those moments of intense suflfering which take the quality 
of action — like the cry of Prometheus, whose chained anguish seems a 
greater energy than the sea and sky he invokes and the deity he defies. 

Deronda's circumstances, indeed, had been ex- 
ceptional. One moment had been burnt into his 
life as its chief epoch — a moment full of July- 
sunshine and large pink roses shedding their last 
petals on a grassy court enclosed on three sides by 
a Gothic cloister. Imagine him in such a scene : 
a boy of thirteen, stretched prone on the grass 
where it was in shadow, his curly head propped 
on his arms over a book, while his tutor, also 
reading, sat on a camp - stool under shelter. 
Deronda's book was Sismondi's History of the 
Italian Kepublics: — the lad had a passion for 
history, eager to know how time had been filled 
up since the Flood, and how things were carried 


on in the dull periods. Suddenly he let down his 
left arm and looked at his tutor, saying in purest 
boyish tones — 

" Mr Eraser, how was it that the popes and 
cardinals always had so many nephews ? " 

The tutor, an able young Scotchman who acted 
as Sir Hugo Mallinger's secretary, roused rather 
unwillingly from his political economy, answered 
with the clear-cut, emphatic chant which makes 
a truth doubly telling in Scotch utterance — 

" Their owtt children were called nephews." 

"Why?" saidDeronda. 

" It was just for the propriety of the thing ; be- 
cause, as you know very well, priests don't marry, 
and the children were illegitimate." 

Mr Eraser, thrusting out his lower lip and making 
his chant of the last word the more emphatic for a 
little impatience at being interrupted, had already 
turned his eyes on his book again, while Deronda, 
as if something had stung him, started up in a 
sitting attitude with his back to the tutor. 

He had always called Sir Hugo Mallinger his 
uncle, and when it once occurred to him to ask 
about his father and mother, the baronet had 
answered, " You lost your father and mother when 
you were quite a little one ; that is why I take 
care of you." Daniel then straining to discern some- 


thing in that early twilight, had a dim sense of 
having been kissed very much, and surrounded by 
thin, cloudy, scented drapery, till his fingers caught 
in something hard, which hurt him, and he began 
to cry. Every other memory he had was of the 
little world in which he still lived. And at that 
time he did not mind about learning more, for 
he was too fond of Sir Hugo to be sorry for the 
loss of unknown parents. Life was very delight- 
ful to the lad, with an uncle who was always in- 
dulgent and cheerful — a fine man in the bright 
noon of life, whom Daniel thought absolutely 
perfect, and whose place was one of the finest in 
England, at once historical, romantic, and home- 
like: a picturesque architectural outgrowth from an 
abbey, which had still remnants of the old monastic 
trunk. Diplow lay in another county, and was 
a comparatively landless place which had come 
into the family from a rich lawyer on the female 
side, who wore the perruque of the Eestoration ; 
whereas the Mallingers had the grant of Monk's 
Topping under Henry the Eighth, and ages before 
had held the neighbouring lands of King's Top- 
ping, tracing indeed their origin to a certain Hu- 
gues le Malingre, who came in with the Conqueror, 
— and also apparently with a sickly complexion, 
which had been happily corrected in his descend- 


ants. Two rows of these descendants, direct and 
collateral, females of the male line, and males of 
the female, looked down in the gallery over the 
cloisters on the nephew Daniel as he walked there : 
men in armour with pointed beards and arched 
eyebrows, pinched ladies in hoops and ruffs with 
no face to speak of ; grave-looking men in black 
velvet and stuffed hips, and fair, frightened women 
holding little boys by the hand; smiling politi- 
cians in magnificent perruques, and ladies of the 
prize-animal kind, with rosebud mouths and full 
eyelids, according to Lely; then a generation 
whose faces were revised and embellished in the 
taste of Kneller ; and so on through refined editions 
of the family types in the time of Eeynolds and 
Eomney, till the line ended with Sir Hugo and his 
younger brother Henleigh. This last had married 
Miss Grandcourt, and taken her name along with 
her estates, thus making a junction between two 
equally old families, impaling the three Saracens* 
heads proper and three bezants of the one with 
the tower and falcons argent of the other, and, as 
it happened, uniting their highest advantages in 
the prospects of that Henleigh Mallinger Grand- 
court who is at present more of an acquaintance 
to us than either Sir Hugo or his nephew Daniel 


In Sir Hugo's youthful portrait witli rolled collar 
and high cravat, Sir Thomas Lawrence had done 
j ustice to the agreeable alacrity of expression and 
sanguine temperament still to be seen in the ori- 
ginal, but had done something more than justice in 
slightly lengthening the nose, which was in reality 
shorter than might have been expected in a Mal- 
linger. Happily the appropriate nose of the family 
reappeared in his younger brother, and was to be 
seen in all its refined regularity in his nephew 
Mallinger Grandcourt. But in the nephew Daniel 
Deronda the family faces of various types, seen on 
the walls of the gallery, found no reflex. Still he 
was handsomer than any of them, and when he 
was thirteen might have served as model for any 
painter who wanted to image the most memorable 
of boys : you could hardly have seen his face 
thoroughly meeting yours without believing that 
human creatures had done nobly in times past, 
and might do more nobly in time to come. The 
finest childlike faces have this consecrating power, 
and make us shudder anew at all the grossness 
and basely-wrought griefs of the world, lest they 
should enter here and defile. 

But at this moment on the grass among the rose- 
petals, Daniel Deronda was making a first acquaint- 
ance with those griefs. A new idea had entered 


his mind, and was beginning to change the aspect 
of his habitual feelings as happy careless voyagers 
are changed when the sky suddenly threatens and 
the thought of danger arises. He sat perfectly 
still with his back to the tutor, while his face ex- 
pressed rapid inward transition. The deep blush, 
which had come when he first started up, gradually 
subsided ; but his features kept that indescribable 
look of subdued activity which often accompanies 
a new mental survey of familiar facts. He had not 
lived with other boys, and his mind showed the 
same blending of child's ignorance with surprising 
knowledge which is oftener seen in bright girls. 
Having read Shakespeare as well as a great deal of 
history, he could have talked with the wisdom of 
a bookish child about men who were born out of 
wedlock and were held unfortunate in consequence, 
being under disadvantages which required them 
to be a sort of heroes if they were to work them- 
selves up to an equal standing with their legally 
born brothers. But he had never brought such 
knowledge into any association with his own lot, 
which had been too easy for him ever to think about 
it — until this moment when there had darted into 
his mind with the magic of quick comparison, the 
possibility that here was the secret of his own 
birth, and that the man whom he called uncle was 


really his father. Some children, even younger 
than Daniel, have known the first arrival of care, 
like an ominous irremovable guest in their tender 
lives, on the discovery that their parents, whom 
they had imagined able to buy everything, were 
poor and in hard money troubles. Daniel felt 
the presence of a new guest who seemed to come 
with an enigmatic veiled face, and to carry dimly- 
conjectured, dreaded revelations. The ardour 
which he had given to the imaginary world in 
his books suddenly rushed towards his own his- 
tory and spent its pictorial energy there, explain- 
ing what he knew, representing the unknown. 
The uncle whom he loved very dearly took the 
aspect of a father who held secrets about him — 
who had done him a wrong — yes, a wrong : and 
what had become of his mother, from whom he 
must have been taken away? — Secrets about 
which he, Daniel, could never inquire; for to 
speak or be spoken to about these new thoughts 
seemed like falling flakes of fire to his imagina- 
tion. Those who have known an impassioned 
childhood will understand this dread of utterance 
about any shame connected with their parents. 
The impetuous advent of new images took pos- 
session of him with the force of fact for the first 
time told, and leit him no immediate power for 


the reflection that he might be trembling at a 
fiction of his own. The terrible sense of collision 
between a strong rush of feeling and the dread of 
its betrayal, found relief at length in big slow 
tears, which fell without restraint until the voice 
of Mr Eraser was heard saying — 

" Daniel, do you see that you are sitting on the 
bent pages of your book ? " 

Daniel immediately moved the book without 
turning round, and after holding it before him for 
an instant, rose with it and walked away into the 
open grounds, where he could dry his tears un- 
observed. The first shock of suggestion past, he 
could remember that he had no certainty how 
things really had been, and that he had been 
making conjectures about his own history, as he 
had often made stories about Pericles or Columbus, 
just to fill up the blanks before they became 
famous. Only there came back certain facts 
which had an obstinate reality, — almost like the 
fragments of a bridge, telling you unmistakably 
how the arches lay. And again there came a 
mood in which his conjectures seemed like a 
doubt of religion, to be banished as an offence, 
and a mean prying after what he was not meant 
to know ; for there was hardly a delicacy of feel- 
ing this lad was not capable of. But the summing 


up of all his fluctuating experience at this epoch 
was, that a secret impression had come to him 
which had given him something like a new sense 
in relation to all the elements of his life. And 
the idea that others probably knew things con- 
cerning him which they did not choose to men- 
tion, and which he would not have had them 
mention, set up in him a premature reserve which 
helped to intensify his inward experience. His 
ears were open now to words which before that 
July day would have passed by him unnoted ; and 
round every trivial incident which imagination 
could connect with his suspicions, a newly-roused 
set of feelings were ready to cluster themselves. 

One such incident a month later wrought itself 
deeply into his life. Daniel had not only one of 
those thrilling boy voices which seem to bring 
an idyllic heaven and earth before our eyes, but 
a fine musical instinct, and had early made out 
accompaniments for himself on the piano, while he 
sang from memory. Since then he had had some 
teaching, and Sir Hugo, who delighted in the boy, 
used to ask for his music in the presence of guests. 
One morning after he had been singing "Sweet 
Echo " before a small party of gentlemen whom the 
rain had kept in the house, the baronet, passing from 
a smiling remark to his next neighbour, said — 

VOL. L u 


" Come here, Dan ! " 

The boy came forward with unusual reluctance. 
He wore an embroidered holland blouse which set 
off the rich colouring of his head and throat, and 
the resistant gravity about his mouth and eyes as 
he was being smiled upon, made their beauty the 
more impressive. Every one was admiring him. 

"What do you say to being a great singer? 
Should you like to be adored by the world and 
take the house by storm, like Mario and Tam- 

Daniel reddened instantaneously, but there was 
a just perceptible interval before he answered 
with angry decision — 

"No; I should hate it ! " 

" Well, well, well ! " said Sir Hugo, with sur- 
prised kindliness intended to be soothing. But 
Daniel turned away quickly, left the room, and 
going to his own chamber threw himself on the 
broad window-sill, which was a favourite retreat 
of his when he had nothing particular to do. Here 
he could see the rain gradually subsiding with 
gleams through the parting clouds which lit up 
a great reach of the park, where the old oaks stood 
apart from each other, and the bordering wood was 
pierced with a green glade which met the eastern 
sky. This was a scene which had always been part 


of his home — part of the dignified ease which 
had been a matter of course in his life. And his 
ardent clinging nature had appropriated it all with 
affection. He knew a great deal of what it was to 
be a gentleman by inheritance, and without think- 
ing much about himself — for he was a boy of 
active perceptions and easily forgot his own ex- 
istence in that of Eobert Bruce — he had never 
supposed that he could be shut out from such a 
lot, or have a very different part in the world from 
that of the uncle who petted him. It is possible 
(though not greatly believed in at present) to be 
fond of poverty and take it for a bride, to prefer 
scoured deal, red quarries, and whitewash for one's 
private surroundings, to delight in no splendour 
but what has open doors for the whole nation, and 
to glory in having no privilege except such as 
nature insists on ; and noblemen have been known 
to run away from elaborate ease and the option 
of idleness, that they might bind themselves for 
small pay to hard-handed labour. But Daniel's 
tastes were altogether in keeping with his nurture : 
his disposition was one in which everyday scenes 
and habits beget not ennui or rebellion, but delight, 
affection, aptitudes; and now the lad had been 
stung to the quick by the idea that his uncle — 
perhaps his father — thought of a career for him 


which was totally unlike his own, and which he 
knew very well was not thought of among possible 
destinations for the sons of English gentlemen. 
He had often stayed in London with Sir Hugo, 
who to indulge the boy's ear had carried him to 
the opera to hear the great tenors, so that the 
image of a singer taking the house by storm was 
very vivid to him ; but now, spite of his musical 
gift, he set himself bitterly against the notion 
of being dressed up to sing before all those fine 
people who would not care about him except as 
a wonderful toy. That Sir Hugo should have 
thought of him in that position for a moment, 
seemed to Daniel an unmistakable proof that there 
was something about his birth which threw him 
out from the class of gentlemen to which the 
baronet belonged. Would it ever be mentioned 
to him? Would the time come when his 
uncle would tell him everything? He shrank 
from the prospect : in his imagination he pre- 
ferred ignorance. If his father had been wicked 
— Daniel inwardly used strong words, for he 
was feeling the injury done him as a maimed 
boy feels the crushed limb which for others is 
merely reckoned in an average of accidents — 
if his father had done any wrong, he wished it 
might never be spoken of to him : it was already a 


cutting thought that such knowledge might be in 
other minds. Was it in Mr Eraser's ? probably not, 
else he would not have spoken in that way about 
the pope's nephews : Daniel fancied, as older 
people do, that every one else's consciousness was 
as active as his own on a matter which was vital 
to him. Did Turvey the valet know ? — and old 
Mrs French the housekeeper? — and Banks the 
bailiff, with whom he had ridden about the farms 
on his pony ? — And now there came back the re- 
collection of a day some years before when he was 
drinking Mrs Banks's whey, and Banks said to 
his wife with a wink and a cunning laugh, " He 
features the mother, eh?" At that time little 
Daniel had merely thought that Banks made a 
silly face, as the common farming men often did — 
laughing at what was not laughable ; and he rather 
resented being winked at and talked of as if he 
did not understand everything. But now that 
small incident became information : it was to be 
reasoned on. How could he be like his mother 
and not like his father? His mother must have 
been a Malliuger, if Sir Hugo were his uncle. 
But no ! His father might have been Sir Hugo's 
brother and have changed his name, as Mr Henleigh 
Mallinger did when he married Miss Grandcourt. 
But then, why had he never heard Sir Hugo speak 


of his brother Deronda, as he spoke of his brother 
Grandcourt? Daniel had never before cared 
about the family tree — only about that ancestor 
who had killed three Saracens in one encounter. 
But now his mind turned to a cabinet of estate- 
maps in the library, where he had once seen an 
illuminated parchment hanging out, that Sir Hugo 
said was the family tree. The phrase was new 
and odd to him — he was a little fellow then, hardly 
more than half his present age — and he gave it no 
precise meaning. He knew more now and wished 
that he could examine that parchment. He ima- 
gined that the cabinet was always locked, and 
longed to try it. But here he checked himself. 
He might be seen ; and he would never bring him- 
self near even a silent admission of the sore that 
had opened in him. 

It is in such experiences of boy or girlhood, 
while elders are debating whether most education 
lies in science or literature, that the main lines of 
character are often laid down. If Daniel had been 
of a less ardently affectionate nature, the reserve 
about himself and the supposition that others had 
something to his disadvantage in their minds, 
might have turned into a hard, proud antagonism. 
But inborn lovingness was strong enough to keep 
itself level with resentment. There was hardly 


any creature in his habitual world that he was not 
fond of; teasing them occasionally, of course — all 
except his uncle, or "Nunc," as Sir Hugo had 
taught him to say ; for the baronet was the reverse 
of a strait-laced man, and left his dignity to take 
care of itself. Him Daniel loved in that deep- 
rooted filial way which makes children always the 
happier for being in the same room with father or 
mother, though their occupations may be quite 
apart. Sir Hugo's watch-chain and seals, his hand- 
writing, his mode of smoking and of talking to his 
dogs and horses, had all a rightness and charm 
about them to the boy which went along with the 
happiness of morning and breakfast-time. That 
Sir Hugo had always been a Whig, made Tories 
and Eadicals equally opponents of the truest and 
best ; and the books he had written were all seen 
under the same consecration of loving belief which 
differenced what was his from what was not his, 
in spite of general resemblance. Those writings 
were various, from volumes of travel in the bril- 
liant style, to articles on things in general, and 
pamphlets on political crises ; but to Daniel they 
were alike in having an unquestionable rightness 
by which other people's information could be tested. 
Who cannot imagine the bitterness of a first 
suspicion that something in this object of com- 


plete love was not quite right ? Children demand 
that their heroes should be fleckless, and easily 
believe them so : perhaps a first discovery to the 
contrary is hardly a less revolutionary shock to a 
passionate child than the threatened downfall of 
habitual beliefs which makes the world seem to 
totter for us in maturer life. 

But some time after this renewal of Daniel's 
agitation it appeared that Sir Hugo must have 
been making a merely playful experiment in his 
question about the singing. He sent for Daniel 
into the library, and looking up from his writing 
as the boy entered threw himself sideways in his 
arm-chair. "Ah, Dan!" he said kindly, drawing 
one of the old embroidered stools close to him. 
" Come and sit down here." 

Daniel obeyed, and Sir Hugo put a gentle hand 
on his shoulder, looking at him affectionately. 

" What is it, my boy ? Have you heard any- 
thing that has put you out of spirits lately ? " 

Daniel was determined not to let the tears come, 
but he could not speak. 

"All changes are painful when people have 
been happy, you know," said Sir Hugo, lifting his 
hand from the boy's shoulder to his dark curls 
and rubbing them gently. " You can't be educated 
exactly as I wish you to be without our parting. 


And I think you "will find a great deal to like at 

This was not what Daniel expected, and was so 
far a relief, which gave him spirit to answer — 

" Am I to go to school V 

" Yes, I mean you to go to Eton. I wish you 
to have the education of an English gentleman; 
and for that it is necessary that you should go to 
a public school in preparation for the university : 
Cambridge I mean you to go to ; it was my own 

Daniel's colour came and went. 

"What do you say, sirrah?" said Sir Hugo, 

" I should like to be a gentleman," said Daniel, 
with firm distinctness, " and go to school, if that 
is what a gentleman's son must do." 

Sir Hugo watched him silently for a few 
moments, thinking he understood now why the 
lad had seemed angry at the notion of becoming 
a singer. Then he said tenderly — 

"And so you won't mind about leaving your 
old Nunc?" 

" Yes, I shall," said Daniel, clasping Sir Hugo's 
caressing arm with both his hands. " But shan't 
I come home and be with you in the holidays ?" 

" Oh yes, generally," said Sir Hugo. " But now 


I mean you to go at once to a new tutor, to break 
the change for you before you go to Eton." 

After this interview Daniel's spirit rose again. 
He was meant to be a gentleman, and in some 
unaccountable way it might be that his conjec- 
tures were all wrong. The very keenness of the 
lad taught him to find comfort in his ignorance. 
While he was busying his mind in the construc- 
tion of possibilities, it became plain to him that 
there must be possibilities of which he knew 
nothing. He left off brooding, young joy and 
the spirit of adventure not being easily quenched 
within him, and in the interval before his going 
away he sang about the house, danced among the 
old servants, making them parting gifts, and in- 
sisted many times to the groom on the care that 
was to be taken of the black pony. 

"Do you think I shall know much less than 
the other boys, Mr Fraser?" said Daniel. It was 
his bent to think that every stranger would be 
surprised at his ignorance. 

"There are dunces to be found everywhere," 
said the judicious Fraser. "You'll not be the 
biggest ; but you've not the makings of a Person 
in you, or a Leibnitz either." 

"I don't want to be a Person or a Leibnitz," 


said Daniel. "I would rather be a greater leader, 
like Pericles or WasMngton." 

" Ay, ay ; youVe a notion they did with little 
parsing, and less algebra," said Fraser. But in 
reality he thought his pupil a remarkable lad, to 
whom one thing was as easy as another if he had 
only a mind to it. 

Things went very well with Daniel in his new 
world, except that a boy with whom he was at 
once inclined to strike up a close friendship talked 
to him a great deal about his home and parents, 
and seemed to expect a like expansiveness in 
return. Daniel immediately shrank into reserve, 
and this experience remained a check on his 
naturally strong bent towards the formation of 
intimate friendships. Every one, his tutor in- 
cluded, set him down as a reserved boy, though 
he was so good-humoured and unassuming, as well 
as quick both at study and sport, that nobody 
called his reserve disagreeable. Certainly his face 
had a great deal to do with that favourable inter- 
pretation ; but in this instance the beauty of the 
closed lips told no falsehood. 

A surprise that came to him before his first 
vacation, strengthened the silent consciousness of 
a grief within, which might be compared in some 


ways with Byron's susceptibility about his de- 
formed foot. Sir Hugo wrote word that he was 
married to Miss Eaymond, a sweet lady whom 
Daniel must remember having seen. The event 
would make no difference about his spending the 
vacation at the Abbey ; he would find Lady Mal- 
linger a new friend whom he would be sure to 
love, — and much more to the usual effect when a 
man, having done something agreeable to himself, 
is disposed to congratulate others on his own 
good fortune, and the deducible satisfactoriness of 
events in general. 

Let Sir Hugo be partly excused until the 
grounds of his action can be more fully known. 
The mistakes in his behaviour to Deronda were 
due to that dulness towards what may be going 
on in other minds, especially the minds of chil- 
dren, which is among the commonest deficiencies 
even in good-natured men like him, when life has 
been generally easy to themselves, and their ener- 
gies have been quietly spent in feeling gratified. 
No one was better aware than he that Daniel was 
generally suspected to be his own son. But he 
was pleased with that suspicion ; and his imagina- 
tion had never once been troubled with the way 
in which the boy himself might be affected, either 
then or in the future, by the enigmatic aspect of 


his circumstances. He was as fond of him as could 
he, and meant the hest hy him. And considering 
the lightness with which the preparation of young 
lives seems to lie on respectable consciences, Sir 
Hugo Mallinger can hardly be held open to 
exceptional reproach. He had been a bachelor 
till he was five-and-forty, had always been re- 
garded as a fascinating man of elegant tastes; 
what could be more natural, even according to 
the index of language, than that he should have a 
beautiful boy like the little Deronda to take care 
of? The mother might even perhaps be in the 
great wx>rld — met with in Sir Hugo's residences 
abroad. The only person to feel any objection 
was the boy himself, who could not have been 
consulted. And the boy's objections had never 
been dreamed of by anybody but himself. 

By the time Deronda was ready to go to 
Cambridge, Lady Mallinger had already three 
daughters — charming babies, all three, but whose 
sex was announced as a melancholy alternative, 
the offspring desired being a son : if Sir Hugo had 
no son the succession must go to his nephew 
Mallinger Grandcourt. Daniel no longer held a 
wavering opinion about his own birth. His fuller 
knowledge had tended to convince him that Sir 
Hugo was his father, and he conceived that the 


baronet, since lie never approached a communica- 
tion on the subject, wished him to have a tacit 
understanding of the fact, and to accept in silence 
what would be generally considered more than 
the due love and nurture. Sir Hugo's marriage 
might certainly have been felt as a new ground of 
resentment by some youths in Deronda's position, 
and the timid Lady Mallinger with her fast-com- 
ing little ones might have been images to scowl 
at, as likely to divert much that was disposable 
in the feelings and possessions of the baronet from 
one who felt his own claim to be prior. But 
hatred of innocent human obstacles was a form of 
moral stupidity not in Deronda's grain ; even the 
indignation which had long mingled itself with 
his affection for Sir Hugo took the quality of pain 
rather than of temper; and as his mind ripened to 
the idea of tolerance towards error, he habitually 
linked the idea with his own silent grievances. 

The sense of an entailed disadvantage — the 
deformed foot doubtfully hidden by the shoe, 
makes a restlessly active spiritual yeast, and easily 
turns a self-centred, unloving nature into an 
Ishmaelite. But in the rarer sort, who presently 
see their own frustrated claim as one among a 
myriad, the inexorable sorrow takes the form of 
fellowship and makes the imagination tender. 


Deronda's early - wakened susceptibility, charged 
at first with ready indignation and resistant pride, 
had raised in him a premature reflection on cer- 
tain questions of life ; it had given a bias to his 
conscience, a sympathy with certain ills, and a 
tension of resolve in certain directions, which 
marked him off from other youths much more than 
any talents he possessed. 

One day near the end of the Long Vacation, 
when he had been making a tour in the Ehine- 
land with his Eton tutor, and was come for a 
farewell stay at the Abbey before going to Cam- 
bridge, he said to Sir Hugo — 

" What do you intend me to be, sir ? " They 
were in the library, and it was the fresh morning. 
Sir Hugo had called him in to read a letter from 
a Cambridge Pon who was to be interested in 
him; and since the baronet wore an air at once 
business-like and leisurely, the moment seemed 
propitious for entering on a grave subject which 
had never yet been thoroughly discussed. 

"Whatever your inclination leads you to, my 
boy. I thought it right to give you the option of 
the army, but you shut the door on that, and I 
was glad. I don't expect you to choose just yet 
— by-and-by, when you have looked about you a 
little more and tried your mettle among older men. 


The university has a good wide opening into the 
forum. There are prizes to be won, and a bit of 
good fortune often gives the turn to a man's 
taste. From what I see and hear, I should think 
you can take up anything you like. You are in 
deeper water with your classics than I ever got 
into, and if you are rather sick of that swimming, 
Cambridge is the place where you can go into 
mathematics with a will, and disport yourself on 
the dry sand as much as you like. I floundered 
along like a carp." 

"I suppose money will make some difference, 
sir," said Daniel, blushing. " I shall have to keep 
myself by-and-by." 

"Not exactly. I recommend you not to be 
extravagant — yes, yes, I know — you are not in- 
clined to that ; — but you need not take up any- 
thing against the grain. You will have a bachelor's 
income — enough for you to look about with. 
Perhaps I had better teU you that you may con- 
sider yourself secure of seven hundred a -year. 
You might make yourself a barrister — be a writer 
— take up politics. I confess that is what would 
please me best. I should like to have you at my 
elbow and pulling with me." 

Deronda looked embarrassed. He felt that 
he ought to make some sign of gratitude, but 


other feelings clogged his tongue. A moment was 
passing by in which a question about his birth 
was throbbing within him, and yet it seemed more 
impossible than ever that the question should find 
vent — more impossible than ever that he could 
hear certain things from Sir Hugo's lips. The 
liberal way in which he was dealt with was the 
more striking because the baronet had of late 
cared particularly for money, and for making the 
utmost of his life-interest in the estate by way of 
providing for his daughters ; and as all this flashed 
through Daniel's mind it was momentarily within 
his imagination that the provision for him might 
come in some way from his mother. But such 
vaporous conjecture passed away as quickly as it 

Sir Hugo appeared not to notice anything pecu- 
liar in Daniel's manner, and presently went on with 
his usual chatty liveliness. 

"I'm glad you have done some good reading 
outside your classics, and have got a grip of French 
and German. The truth is, unless a man can get 
the prestige and income of a Don and write 
donnish books, it's hardly worth while for him. to 
make a Greek and Latin machine of himself and 
be able to spin you out pages of the Greek 
dramatists at any verse you'll give him as a cue. 

VOL. I. X 


That's all very fine, but in practical life nobody 
does give you the cue for pages of Greek. In 
fact it's a nicety of conversation which I would 
have you attend to — much quotation of any 
sort, even in English, is bad. It tends to choke 
ordinary remark. One couldn't carry on life com- 
fortably without a little blindness to the fact that 
everything has been said better than we can put 
it ourselves. But talking of Dons, I have seen 
Dons make a capital figure in society ; and occa- 
sionally he can shoot you down a cartload of 
learning in the right place, which will tell in 
politics. Such men are wanted ; and if you have 
any turn for being a Don, I say nothing against 

" I think there's not much chance of that. 
Quicksett and Puller are both stronger than I am. 
I hope you will not be much disappointed if I 
don't come out with high honours." 

"No, no. I should like you to do yourself 
credit, but for God's sake don't come out as a 
superior expensive kind of idiot, like young 
Brecon, who got a Double First, and has been 
learning to knit braces ever since. What I wish 
you to get is a passport in life. I don't go against 
our university system : we want a little disin- 
terested culture to make head against cotton and 


capital, especially in the House. My Greek has 
all evaporated : if I had to construe a verse on a 
sudden, I should get an apoplectic fit. But it 
formed my taste. I daresay my English is the 
better for it." 

On this point Daniel kept a respectful silence. 
The enthusiastic belief in Sir Hugo's writings as 
a standard, and in the Whigs as the chosen race 
among politicians, had gradually vanished along 
with the seraphic boy's face. He had not been 
the hardest of workers at Eton. Though some 
kinds of study and reading came as easily as boat- 
ing to him, he was not of the material that usu- 
ally makes the first-rate Eton scholar. There had 
sprung up in him a meditative yearning after 
wide knowledge which is likely always to abate 
ardour in the fight for prize acquirement in nar- 
row tracks. Happily he was modest, and took any 
second-rateness in himself simply as a fact, not 
as a marvel necessarily to be accounted for by a 
superiority. Still Mr Eraser's high opinion of the 
lad had not been altogether belied by the youth : 
Daniel had the stamp of rarity in a subdued fer- 
vour of sympathy, an activity of imagination on 
behalf of others, which did not show itself effu- 
sively, but was continually seen in acts of consid- 
erateness that struck his companions as moral 


eccentricity. " Deronda would have been first- 
rate if he had had more ambition" — was a frequent 
remark about him. But how could a fellow push 
his way properly when he objected to swop for 
his own advantage, knocked under by choice 
when he was within an inch of victory, and, un- 
like the great Clive, would rather be the calf 
than the butcher ? It was a mistake, however, to 
suppose that Deronda had not his share of ambi- 
tion : we know he had suffered keenly from the 
belief that there was a tinge of dishonour in his 
lot ; but there are some cases, and his was one of 
them, in which the sense of injury breeds — not 
the will to inflict injuries and climb over them 
as a ladder, but — a hatred of all injury. He had 
his flashes of fierceness, and could hit out upon 
occasion, but the occasions were not always what 
might have been expected. For in what related 
to himself his resentful impulses had been early 
checked by a mastering affectionateness. Love 
has a habit of saying " Never mind " to angry self, 
who, sitting down for the nonce in the lower place, 
by-and-by gets used to it. So it was that as 
Deronda approached manhood his feeling for Sir 
Hugo, while it was getting more and more mixed 
with criticism, was gaining in that sort of allow- 
ance which reconciles criticism with tenderness. 


The dear old beautiful home and everything with- 
in it, Lady Mallinger and her little ones included, 
were consecrated for the youth as they had been 
for the boy — only with a certain difference of light 
on the objects. The altar-piece was no longer 
miraculously perfect, painted under infallible 
guidance, but the human hand discerned in the 
work was appealing to a reverent tenderness safer 
from the gusts of discovery. Certainly Deronda's 
ambition, even in his spring-time, lay exception- 
ally aloof from conspicuous, vulgar triumph, and 
from other ugly forms of boyish energy ; perhaps 
because he was early impassioned by ideas, and 
burned his fire on those heights. One may spend 
a good deal of energy in disliking and resisting 
what others pursue, and a boy who is fond of 
somebody else's pencil-case may not be more 
energetic than another who is fond of giving his 
own pencil-case away. Still, it was not Deronda's 
disposition to escape from ugly scenes: he was 
more inclined to sit through them and take care 
of the fellow least able to take care of himself. 
It had helped to make him popular that he was 
sometimes a little compromised by this apparent 
comradeship. For a meditative interest in learn- 
ing how human miseries are wrought — as preco- 
cious in him as another sort of genius in the poet 


who writes a Queen Mab at nineteen — was so in- 
fused with kindliness that it easily passed for com- 
radeship. Enough. In many of our neighbours' 
lives, there is much not only of error and lapse, 
but of a certain exquisite goodness which can 
never be written or even spoken — only divined 
by each of us, according to the inward instruc- 
tion of our own privacy. 

The impression he made at Cambridge corre- 
sponded to his position at Eton. Every one in- 
terested in him agreed that he might have taken 
a high place if his motives had been of a more 
pushing sort, and if he had not, instead of regard- 
ing studies as instruments of success, hampered 
himself with the notion that they were to feed 
motive and opinion — a notion which set him 
criticising methods and arguing against his freight 
and harness when he should have been using all 
his might to pull. In the beginning his work at 
the university had a new zest for him : indifferent 
to the continuation of the Eton classical drill, he 
applied himself vigorously to mathematics, for 
which he had shown an early aptitude under Mr 
Eraser, and he had the delight of feeling his 
strength in a comparatively fresh exercise of 
thought. That delight, and the favourable opinion 
of his tutor, determined him to try for a mathe- 


matical scholarship in the Easter of his second 
year: he wished to gratify Sir Hugo by some 
achievement, and the study of the higher mathe- 
matics, having the growing fascination inherent 
in all thinking which demands intensity, was 
making him a more exclusive worker than he 
had been before. 

But here came the old check which had been 
growing with his growth. He found the inward 
bent towards comprehension and thoroughness 
diverging more and more from the track marked 
out by the standards of examination : he felt a 
heightening discontent with the wearing futility 
and enfeebling strain of a demand for excessive 
retention and dexterity without any insight into 
the principles which form the vital connections 
of knowledge. (Deronda's undergraduateship oc- 
curred fifteen years ago, when the perfection of 
our university methods was not yet indisputable.) 
In hours when his dissatisfaction was strong upon 
him he reproached himself for having been at- 
tracted by the conventional advantage of belonging 
to an English university, and was tempted to- 
wards the project of asking Sir Hugo to let him 
quit Cambridge and pursue a more independent 
line of study abroad. The germs of this inclina- 
tion had been already stirring in his boyish love 


of universal history, which made him want to be 
at home in foreign countries, and follow in ima- 
gination the travelling students of the middle 
ages. He longed now to have the sort of appren- 
ticeship to life which would not shape him too 
definitely, and rob him of the choice that might 
come from a free growth. One sees that Deronda's 
demerits were likely to be on the side of reflective 
hesitation, and this tendency was encouraged by 
his position : there was no need for him to get 
an immediate income, or to fit himself in haste 
for a profession ; and his sensibility to the half- 
known facts of his parentage made him an excuse 
for lingering longer than others in a state of social 
neutrality. Other men, he inwardly said, had a 
more definite place and duties. But the project 
which flattered his inclination might not have gone 
beyond the stage of ineff'ective brooding, if certain 
circumstances had not quickened it into action. 

The circumstances arose out of an enthusiastic 
friendship which extended into his after - life. 
Of the same year with himself, and occupying 
small rooms close to his, was a youth who had 
come as an exhibitioner from Christ's • Hospital, 
and had eccentricities enough for a Charles Lamb. 
Only to look at his pinched features and blond 
hair hanging over his coUar reminded one of pale 


quaint heads by early German painters ; and when 
this faint colouring was lit up by a joke, there 
came sudden creases about the mouth and eyes 
which might have been moulded by the soul of 
an aged humorist. His father, an engraver of 
some distinction, had been dead eleven years, and 
his mother had three girls to educate and main- 
tain on a meagre annuity. Hans Meyrick — he 
had been daringly christened after Holbein — felt 
himself the pillar, or rather the knotted and twisted 
trunk, round which these feeble climbing plants 
must cling. There was no want of ability or of 
honest well-meaning affection to make the prop 
trustworthy : the ease and quickness with which 
he studied might serve him to win prizes at Cam- 
bridge, as he had done among the Blue Coats, in 
spite of irregularities. The only danger was, that 
the incalculable tendencies in him might be fa- 
tally timed, and that his good intentions might be 
frustrated by some act which was not due to habit 
but to capricious, scattered impulses. He could 
not be said to have any one bad habit; yet at 
longer or shorter intervals he had fits of impish 
recklessness, and did things that would have 
made the worst habits. 

Hans in his right mind, however, was a lov- 
able creature, and in Deronda he had happened to 


find a friend who was likely to stand by him with 
the more constancy, from compassion for these 
brief aberrations that might bring a long re- 
pentance. Hans, indeed, shared Deronda's rooms 
nearly as much as he used his own : to Deronda 
he poured himself out on his studies, his affairs, 
his hopes ; the poverty of his home, and his love 
for the creatures there ; the itching of his fingers 
to draw, and his determination to fight it away 
for the sake of getting some sort of plum that he 
might divide with his mother and the girls. He 
wanted no confidence in return, but seemed to 
take Deronda as an Olympian who needed noth- 
ing — an egotism in friendship which is common 
enough with mercurial, expansive natures. De- 
ronda was content, and gave Meyrick all the in- 
terest he claimed, getting at last a brotherly 
anxiety about him, looking after him in his er- 
ratic moments, and contriving by adroitly deli- 
cate devices not only to make up for his friend's 
lack of pence, but to save him from threatening 
chances. Such friendship easily becomes tender : 
the one spreads strong sheltering wings that de- 
light in spreading, the other gets the warm pro- 
tection which is also a delight. Meyrick was 
going in for a classical scholarship, and his suc- 
cess, in various ways momentous, was the more 


probable from the steadying influence of Deronda's 

But an imprudence of Meyrick's, committed 
at the beginning of the autumn term, threatened 
to disappoint his hopes. With his usual alter- 
nation between unnecessary expense and self- 
privation, he had given too much money for an 
old engraving which fascinated him, and to make 
up for it, had come from London in a third-class 
carriage with his eyes exposed to a bitter wind 
and any irritating particles the wind might drive 
before it. The consequence was a severe inflam- 
mation of the eyes, which for some time hung 
over him the threat of a lasting injury. This 
crushing trouble called out all Deronda's readi- 
ness to devote himself, and he made every other 
occupation secondary to that of being companion 
and eyes to Hans, working with him and for him 
at his classics, that if possible his chance of the 
classical scholarship might be saved. Hans, to 
keep the knowledge of his suffering from his 
mother and sisters, alleged his work as a reason 
for passing the Christmas at Cambridge, and his 
friend stayed up with him. 

Meanwhile Deronda relaxed his hold on his 
mathematics, and Hans, reflecting on this, at 
length said, " Old fellow, while you are hoisting 


me you are risking yourself. With your mathe- 
matical cram one may be like Moses or Mahomet 
or somebody of that sort who had to cram, and 
forgot in one day what it had taken him forty to 

Deronda would not admit that he cared about 
the risk, and he had really been beguiled into a 
little indifference by double sympathy: he was 
very anxious that Hans should not miss the 
much-needed scholarship, and he felt a revival 
of interest in the old studies. Still, when Hans, 
rather late in the day, got able to use his own 
eyes, Deronda had tenacity enough to try hard 
and recover his lost ground. He failed, however ; 
but he had the satisfaction of seeing Meyrick win. 

Success, as a sort of beginning that urged com- 
pletion, might have reconciled Deronda to his 
university course ; but the emptiness of all things, 
from politics to pastimes, is never so striking to 
us as when we fail in them. The loss of the per- 
sonal triumph had no severity for him, but the 
sense of having spent his time ineffectively in 
a mode of working which had been against the 
grain, gave him a distaste for any renewal of the 
process, which turned his imagined project of 
quitting Cambridge into a serious intention. In 
speaking of his intention to Meyrick he made it 


appear that he was glad of the turn events had 
taken — glad to have the balance dip decidedly, 
and feel freed from his hesitations; but he ob- 
served that he must of course submit to any 
strong objection on the part of Sir Hugo. 

Meyrick's joy and gratitude were disturbed 
by much uneasiness. He believed in Deronda's 
alleged preference, but he felt keenly that in 
serving him Daniel had placed himself at a dis- 
advantage in Sir Hugo's opinion, and he said 
mournfully, " If you had got the scholarship, Sir 
Hugo would have thought that you asked to leave 
us with a better grace. You have spoilt your luck 
for my sake, and I can do nothing to mend it." 

" Yes, you can ; you are to be a first-rate fellow. 
I call that a first-rate investment of my luck." 

" Oh, confound it ! You save an ugly mongrel 
from drowning, and expect him to cut a fine 
figure. The poets have made tragedies enough 
about signing one's self over to wickedness for 
the sake of getting something plummy ; I shall 
write a tragedy of a fellow who signed himself 
over to be good, and was uncomfortable ever 

But Hans lost no time in secretly writing the 
history of the affair to Sir Hugo, making it plain 
that but for Deronda's generous devotion he could 


hardly have failed to win the prize he had been 
working for. 

The two friends went up to town together: 
Meyrick to rejoice with his mother and the girls 
in their little home at Chelsea ; Deronda to carry 
out the less easy task of opening his mind to Sir 
Hugo. He relied a little on the baronet's general 
tolerance of eccentricities, but he expected more 
opposition than he met with. He was received 
with even warmer kindness than usual, the fail- 
ure was passed over lightly, and when he detailed 
his reasons for wishing to quit the university 
and go to study abroad, Sir Hugo sat for some 
time in a silence which was rather meditative 
than surprised. At last he said, looking at Daniel 
with examination, " So you don't want to be an 
Englishman to the backbone after all ? " 

" I want to be an Englishman, but I want to 
understand other points of view. And I want to 
get rid of a merely English attitude in studies." 

" I see ; you don't want to be turned out in 
the same mould as every other youngster. And 
I have nothing to say against your doffing some 
of our national prejudices. I feel the better my- 
self for having spent a good deal of my time 
abroad. But, for God's sake, keep an English 
cut, and don't become indifferent to bad tobacco ! 


And — my dear boy — it is good to be unselfish and 
generous; but don't carry that too far. It will 
not do to give yourself to be melted down for 
the benefit of the tallow-trade ; you must know 
where to find yourself. However, I shall put no 
veto on your going. Wait until I can get off 
Committee, and I'll run over with you." 

So Deronda went according to his will. But 
not before he had spent some hours with Hans 
Meyrick, and been introduced to the mother and 
sisters in the Chelsea home. The shy girls watched 
and registered every look of their brother's 
friend, declared by Hans to have been the sal- 
vation of him, a fellow like nobody else, and, in 
fine, a brick. They so thoroughly accepted De- 
ronda as an ideal, that when he was gone the 
youngest set to work, under the criticism of the 
two elder girls, to paint him as Prince Camaral- 



" This is true the poet sings. 
That a sorrow's crown of sorrow 
Is remembering happier things." 

— Tennyson : In Memoriam. 

On a fine evening near the end of July, Deronda 
was rowing himself on the Thames. It was 
already a year or more since he had come back to 
England, with the understanding that his educa- 
tion was finished, and that he was somehow to 
take his place in English society; but though, 
in deference to Sir Hugo's wish, and to fence off 
idleness, he had begun to read law, this apparent 
decision had been without other result than to 
deepen the roots of indecision. His old love of 
boating had revived with the more force now that 
he was in town with the Mallingers, because he 
could nowhere else get the same still seclusion 
which the river gave him. He had a boat of his 
own at Putney, and whenever Sir Hugo did not 
want him, it was his chief holiday to row till past 


sunset and come in again with the stars. Not 
that he was in a sentimental stage ; but he was in 
another sort of contemplative mood perhaps more 
common in the young men of our day — that of 
questioning whether it were worth while to take 
part in the battle of the world : I mean, of course, 
the young men in whom the unproductive labour 
of questioning is sustained by three or five per 
cent on capital which somebody else has battled 
for. It puzzled Sir Hugo that one who made a 
splendid contrast with all that was sickly and 
puling should be hampered with ideas which, 
since they left an accomplished Whig like him- 
self unobstructed, could be no better than spectral 
illusions ; especially as Deronda set himself against 
authorship — a vocation which is understood to 
turn foolish thinking into funds. 

Eowing in his dark-blue shirt and skull-cap, 
his curls closely clipped, his mouth beset with 
abundant soft waves of beard, he bore only dis- 
guised traces of the seraphic boy " trailing clouds 
of glory." Still, even one who had never seen 
him since his boyhood might have looked at him 
with slow recognition, due perhaps to the pecu- 
liarity of the gaze which Gwendolen chose to 
call " dreadful," though it had really a very mild 
sort of scrutiny. The voice, sometimes audible in 

VOL. I. Y 


subdued snatches of song, had turned out merely 
a high barytone ; indeed, only to look at his lithe 
powerful frame and the firm gravity of his face 
would have been enough for an experienced guess 
that he had no rare and ravishing tenor such as 
nature reluctantly makes at some sacrifice. Look 
at his hands : they are not small and dimpled, 
with tapering fingers that seem to have only a 
deprecating touch : they are long, flexible, firmly- 
grasping hands, such as Titian has painted in a 
picture where he wanted to show the combination 
of refinement with force. And there is something 
of a likeness, too, between the faces belonging to 
the hands — in both the uniform pale-brown skin, 
the perpendicular brow, the calmly penetrating 
eyes. Not seraphic any longer : thoroughly ter- 
restrial and manly; but still of a kind to raise 
belief in a human dignity which can afford to 
acknowledge poor relations. 

Such types meet us here and there among 
average conditions; in a workman, for example, 
whistling over a bit of measurement and lifting 
his eyes to answer our question about the road. 
And often the grand meanings of faces as well as 
of written words may lie chiefly in the impressions 
of those who look on them. But it is precisely 
such impressions that happen just now to be of 


importance in relation to Deronda, rowing on the 
Thames in a very ordinary equipment for a young 
Englishman at leisure, and passing under Kew 
Bridge with no thought of an adventure in which 
his appearance was likely to play any part. In 
fact, he objected very strongly to the notion, which 
others had not allowed him to escape, that his 
appearance was of a kind to draw attention ; and 
hints of this, intended to be complimentary, found 
an angry resonance in him, coming from mingled 
experiences, to which a clue has already been 
given. His own face in the glass had during 
many years been associated for him with thoughts 
of some one whom he must be like — one about 
whose character and lot he continually wondered, 
and never dared to ask. 

In the neighbourhood of Kew Bridge, between 
six and seven o'clock, the river was no solitude. 
Several persons were sauntering on the towing- 
path, and here and there a boat was plying. 
Deronda had been rowing fast to get over this 
spot, when, becoming aware of a great barge ad- 
vancing towards him, he guided his boat aside, and 
rested on his oar within a couple of yards of the 
river-brink. He was all the while unconsciously 
continuing the low -toned chant which had 
haunted his throat all the way up the river — the 


gondolier's song in the ' Otello/ where Eossini 
has worthily set to music the immortal words of 
Dante — 

" Nessun maggior dolore 
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice 
Nella miseria : " * 

and, as he rested on his oar, the pianissimo fall of 
the melodic wail "nella miseria" was distinctly- 
audible on the brink of the water. Three or four 
persons had paused at various spots to watch the 
barge passing the bridge, and doubtless included 
in their notice the youiig gentleman in the boat ; 
but probably it was only to one ear that the low 
vocal sounds came with more significance than if 
they had been an insect murmur amidst the sum 
of current noises. Deronda, awaiting the barge, 
now turned his head to the river-side, and saw at 
a few yards* distance from him a figure which 
might have been an impersonation of the misery 
he was unconsciously giving voice to: a girl 
hardly more than eighteen, of low slim figure, 
with most delicate little face, her dark curls 
pushed behind her ears under a large black hat, 
a long woollen cloak over her shoulders. Her 
hands were hanging down clasped before her, and 

* Dante's words are best rendered by our own poet in the lines 
at the head of the chapter. 


her eyes were fixed on the river with a look 
of immovable, statue-like despair. This strong 
arrest of his attention made him cease singing : 
apparently his voice had entered her inner world 
without her having taken any note of whence it 
came, for when it suddenly ceased she changed 
her attitude slightly, and, looking round with a 
frightened glance, met Deronda's face. It was 
but a couple of moments, but that seems a long 
while for two people to look straight at each 
other. Her look was something like that of a 
fawn or other gentle animal before it turns to 
run away: no blush, no special alarm, but only 
some timidity which yet could not hinder her 
from a long look before she turned. In fact, it 
seemed to Deronda that she was only half-con- 
scious of her surroundings: was she hungry, or 
was there some other cause of bewilderment ? 
He felt an outleap of interest and compassion 
towards her ; but the next instant she had turned 
and walked away to a neighbouring bench under 
a tree. He had no right to linger and watch her : 
poorly-dressed, melancholy women are common 
sights ; it was only the delicate beauty, the pic- 
turesque lines and colour of the image that were 
exceptional, and these conditions made it the 
more markedly impossibly that he should obtrude 


his interest upon her. He began to row away, 
and was soon far up the river; but no other 
thoughts were busy enough quite to expel that 
pale image of unhappy girlhood. He fell again 
and again to speculating on the probable romance 
that lay behind that loneliness and look of desola- 
tion ; then to smile at his own share in the pre- 
judice that interesting faces must have interesting 
adventures ; then to justify himself for feeling 
that sorrow was the more tragic when it befeU 
delicate, childlike beauty. 

" I should not have forgotten the look of mis- 
ery if she had been ugly and vulgar," he said to 
himself. But there was no denying that the at- 
tractiveness of the image made it likelier to last. 
It was clear to him as an onyx cameo : the 
brown-black drapery, the white face with small, 
small features and dark, long-lashed eyes. His 
mind glanced over the girl - tragedies that are 
going on in the world, hidden, unheeded, as if 
they were but tragedies of the copse or hedgerow, 
where the helpless drag wounded wings for- 
sakenly, and streak the shadowed moss with the 
red moment-hand of their own death. Deronda 
of late, in his solitary excursions, had been occu- 
pied chiefly with uncertainties about his own 
course; but those uncertainties, being much at 


their leisure, were wont to have such wide-sweep- 
ing connections with all life and history that the 
new image of helpless sorrow easily blent itself 
with what seemed to him the strong array of rea- 
sons why he should shrink from getting into that 
routine of the world which makes men apologise 
for all its wrong-doing, and take opinions as mere 
professional equipment — why he should not draw 
strongly at any thread in the hopelessly-entangled 
scheme of things. 

He used his oars little, satisfied to go with the 
tide and be taken back by it. It was his habit to 
indulge himself in that solemn passivity which 
easily comes with the lengthening shadows and 
mellowing light, when thinking and desiring melt 
together imperceptibly, and what in other hours 
may have seemed argument takes the quality of 
passionate vision. By the time he had come back 
again with the tide past Richmond Bridge the sun 
was near setting; and the approach of his favourite 
hour — ^with its deepening stillness, and darkening 
masses of tree and building between the double 
glow of the sky and the river — disposed him to 
linger as if they had been an unfinished strain of 
music. He looked out for a perfectly solitary spot 
where he could lodge his boat against the bank, 
and, throwing himself on his back with his head 


propped on the cushions, could watch out the light 
of sunset and the opening of that bead-roll which 
some oriental poet describes as God's call to the 
little stars, who each answer, " Here am I." He 
chose a spot in the bend of the river just opposite 
Kew Gardens, where he had a great breadth of 
water before him reflecting the glory of the sky, 
while he himself was in shadow. He lay with his 
hands behind his head propped on a level with 
the boat's edge, so that he could see all around 
him, but could not be seen by any one at a few 
yards' distance; and for a long while he never 
turned his eyes from the view right in front of 
him. He was forgetting everything else in a half- 
speculative, half-involuntary identification of him- 
self with the objects he was looking at, thinking 
how far it might be possible habitually to shift 
his centre till his own personality would be no 
less outside him than the landscape, — when the 
sense of something moving on the bank opposite 
him where it was bordered by a line of willow- 
bushes, made him turn his glance thitherward. 
In the first moment he had a darting presentiment 
about the moving figure ; and now he could see 
the small face with the strange dying sunlight 
upon it. He feared to frighten her by a sudden 
movement, and watched her with motionless at- 
tention. She looked round, but seemed only to 


gather security from the apparent solitude, hid 
her hat among the willows, and immediately took 
off her woollen cloak. Presently she seated her- 
self and deliberately dipped the cloak in the 
water, holding it there a little while, then taking 
it out with effort, rising from her seat as she did 
so. By this time Deronda felt sure that she 
meant to wrap the wet cloak round her as a 
drowning-shroud ; there was no longer time to 
hesitate about frightening her. He rose and 
seized his oar to ply across ; happily her position 
lay a little below him. The poor thing, overcome 
with terror at this sign of discovery from the op- 
posite bank, sank down on the brink again, hold- 
ing her cloak but half out of the water. She 
crouched and covered her face as if she kept a 
faint hope that she had not been seen, and that 
the boatman was accidentally coming towards her. 
But soon he was within brief space of her, steady- 
ing his boat against the bank, and speaking, but 
very gently — 

" Don't be afraid. . . . You are unhappy. . . . 
Pray, trust me. . . . Tell me what I can do to 
help you." 

She raised her head and looked up at him. His 
face now was towards the light, and she knew it 
again. But she did not speak for a few moments 
which were a renewal of their former gaze at each 


other. At last she said in a low sweet voice, with 
an accent so distinct that it suggested foreignness 
and yet was not foreign, " I saw you before ; " 
. . . and then added, dreamily, after a like pause, 
" nella miseria." 

Deronda, not understanding the connection of 
her thought, supposed that her mind was weak- 
ened by distress and hunger. 

" It was you, singing ? " she went on, hesita- 
tingly — " Nessun maggior dolore." . . . The mere 
words themselves uttered in her sweet undertones 
seemed to give the melody to Deronda's ear. 

" Ah, yes," he said, understanding now, " I am 
often singing them. But I fear you will injure 
yourself staying here. Pray let me carry you 
in my boat to some place of safety. And that 
wet cloak — ^let me take it." 

He would not attempt to take it without her 
leave, dreading lest he should scare her. Even at 
his words, he fancied that she shrank and clutched 
the cloak more tenaciously. But her eyes were 
fixed on him with a question in them as she said, 
"You look good. Perhaps it is God's command." 

" Do trust me. Let me help you. I will die 
before I will let any harm come to you." 

She rose from her sitting posture, first dragging 
the saturated cloak and then letting it fall on 


the ground — it was too heavy for her tired arma 
Her little woman's figure as she laid her delicate 
chilled hands together one over the other against 
her waist, and went a step backward while she 
leaned her head forward as if not to lose her sight 
of his face, was unspeakably touching. 

" Great God ! " the words escaped Deronda in a 
tone so low and solemn that they seemed like a 
prayer become unconsciously vocal. The agitating 
impression this forsaken girl was making on him 
stirred a fibre that lay close to his deepest interest 
in the fates of women — " perhaps my mother was 
like this one." The old thought had come now 
with a new impetus of mingled feeling, and urged 
that exclamation in which both East and West 
have for ages concentrated their awe in the pre- 
sence of inexorable calamity. 

The low-toned words seemed to have some 
reassurance in them for the hearer : she stepped 
forward close to the boat's side, and Deronda 
put out his hand, hoping now that she would let 
him help her in. She had already put her tiny 
hand into his which closed round it, when some 
new thought struck her, and drawing back she 
said — 

"I have nowhere to go — nobody belonging to 
me in all this land." 


" I will take you to a lady who has daughters," 
said Deronda, immediately. He felt a sort of 
relief in gathering that the wretched home and 
cruel friends he imagined her to be fleeing 
from were not in the near background. Still 
she hesitated, and said more timidly than 
ever — 

" Do you belong to the theatre ? " 

" No ; I have nothing to do with the theatre," 
said Deronda, in a decided tone. Then beseech- 
ingly, " I will put you in perfect safety at once ; 
with a lady, a good woman ; T am sure she will be 
kind. Let us lose no time : you will make your- 
self ill. Life may still become sweet to you. 
There are good people — there are good women 
who will take care of you." 

She drew backward no more, but stepped in 
easily, as if she were used to such action, and sat 
down on the cushions. 

" You had a covering for your head," said De- 

"My hat?" (she lifted up her hands to her 
head.) " It is quite hidden in the bush." 

" I will find it," said Deronda, putting out his 
hand deprecatingly as she attempted to rise. " The 
boat is fixed." 

He jumped out, found the hat, and lifted up the 


saturated cloak, wringing it and throwing it into 
the bottom of the boat. 

" We must carry the cloak away, to prevent any 
one who may have noticed you from thinking you 
have been drowned," he said cheerfully, as he got 
in again and presented the old hat to her. " I 
wish I had any other garment than my coat to 
offer you. But shall you mind throwing it over 
your shoulders while we are on the water? It 
is quite an ordinary thing to do, when people 
return late and are not enough provided with 
wraps." He held out the coat towards her with 
a smile, and there came a faint melancholy 
smile in answer, as she took it and put it on 
very cleverly. 

" I have some biscuits — should you like them ? " 
said Deronda. 

" No ; I cannot eat. I had still some money 
left to buy bread." 

He began to ply his oar without further remark, 
and they went along swiftly for many minutes 
without speaking. She did not look at him, but 
was watching the oar, leaning forward in an atti- 
tude of repose, as if she were beginning to feel the 
comfort of returning warmth and the prospect of 
life instead of death. The twilight was deepening ; 
the red flush was all gone and the little stars were 


giving their answer one after another. The moon 
was rising, but was still entangled among trees 
and buildings. The light was not such that he 
could distinctly discern the expression of her fea- 
tures or her glance, but they were distinctly be- 
fore him nevertheless — features and a glance which 
seemed to have given a fuller meaning for him to 
the human face. Among his anxieties one was 
dominant : his first impression about her, that her 
mind might be disordered, had not been quite dis- 
sipated : the project of suicide was unmistakable, 
and gave a deeper colour to every other suspicious 
sign. He longed to begin a conversation, but ab- 
stained, wishing to encourage the confidence that 
might induce her to speak first. At last she did 

" I like to listen to the oar." 

" So do I." 

" If you had not come, I should have been dead 



" I cannot bear you to speak of that. I hope 
you will never be sorry that I came." 

" I cannot see how I shall be glad to live. The 
maggior dolore and the miseria have lasted longer 
than the tem'po felice." She paused and then went 
on dreamily, — "Dolore — miseria — I ihink those 
words are alive." 


Deronda was mute : to question her seemed an 
unwarrantable freedom ; he shrank from appear- 
ing to claim the authority of a benefactor, or to 
treat her with the less reverence because she was 
in distress. She went on, musingly — 

" I thought it was not wicked. Death and life 
are one before the Eternal. I know our fathers 
slew their children and then slew themselves, to 
keep their souls pure. I meant it so. But now I 
am commanded to live. I cannot see how I shall 

"You will find friends. I will find them for 

She shook her head and said mournfully, " Not 
my mother and brother. I cannot find them." 

"You are English? You must be — speaking 
English so perfectly." 

She did not answer immediately, but looked at 
Deronda again, straining to see him in the doubt- 
ful light. Until now she had been watching the 
oar. It seemed as if she were half roused, and 
wondered which part of her impressions was 
dreaming and which waking. Sorrowful isolation 
had benumbed her sense of ir^ality, and the power 
of distinguishing outward and inward was continu- 
ally slipping away from her. Her look was full of 
wdndering timidity, such as the forsaken one in 


the desert might have lifted to the angelic vision 
before she knew whether his message were in 
anger or in pity. 

"You want to know if I am English?" she said 
at last, while Deronda was reddening nervously 
under a gaze which he felt more fully than he saw. 

" I want to know nothing except what you like 
to tell me/' he said, still uneasy in the fear that 
her mind was wandering. " Perhaps it is not good 
for you to talk." 

" Yes, I will tell you. I am English-born. But 
I am a Jewess." 

Deronda was silent, inwardly wondering that he 
had not said this to himself before, though any one 
who had seen delicate-faced Spanish girls might 
simply have guessed her to be Spanish. 

" Do you despise me for it ? " she said presently 
in low tones, which had a sadness that pierced 
like a cry from a small dumb creature in fear. 

" Why should I ? " said Deronda. " I am not 
so foolish." 

" I know many Jews are bad." 

"So are many Christians. But I should not 
think it fair for you to despise me because of that." 

"My mother and brother were good. But I 
shall never find them. I am come a long way — 
from abroad. I ran away ; but I cannot tell you 


T— I cannot speak of it. I thought I might find 
my mother again — God would guide me. But 
then I despaired. This morning when the light 
came, I felt as if one word kept sounding within 
me — Never ! never 1 But now — I begin — to 

think " her words were broken by rising sobs 

— "I am commanded to live — perhaps we are 
going to her." 

With an outburst of weeping she buried her 
head on her knees. He hoped that this passion- 
ate weeping might relieve her excitement. Mean- 
while he was inwardly picturing in much embar- 
rassment how he should present himself with her 
in Park Lane — the course which he had at first 
unreflectingly determined on. No one kinder 
and more gentle than Lady Mallinger ; but it was 
hardly probable that she would be at home ; and 
he had a shuddering sense of a lackey staring at 
this delicate, sorrowful image of womanhood — of 
glaring lights and fine staircases, and perhaps 
chilling suspicious manners from lady's-maid and 
housekeeper, that might scare the mind already in 
a state of dangerous susceptibility. But to take 
her to any other shelter than a home already 
known to him was not to be contemplated: he 
was full of fears about the issue of the adventure 
which had brought on him a responsibility all the 

VOL. I. Z 


heavier for the strong and agitating impression 
this childlike creature had made on him. But 
another resource came to mind : he could venture 
to take her to Mrs Meyrick's — to the small home at 
Chelsea, where he had been often enough since his 
return from abroad to feel sure that he could 
appeal there to generous hearts, which had a ro- 
mantic readiness to believe in innocent need and 
to help it. Hans Meyrick was safe away in Italy, 
and Deronda felt the comfort of presenting him- 
self with his charge at a house where he would be 
met by a motherly figure of quakerish neatness, 
and three girls who hardly knew of any evil closer 
to them than what lay in history books and dra- 
mas, and would at once associate a lovely Jewess 
with Eebecca in ' Ivanhoe,' besides thinking that 
everything they did at Deronda's request would 
be done for their idol, Hans. The vision of the 
Chelsea home once raised, Deronda uo longer 

The rumbling thither in the cab after the still- 
ness of the water seemed long. Happily his 
charge had been quiet since her fit of weeping, 
and submitted like a tired child. When they 
were in the cab, she laid down her hat and tried 
to rest her head, but the jolting movement would 
not let it rest ; still she dozed, and her sweet 


head hung helpless first on one side, then on 
the other. 

"They are too good to have any fear about 
taking her in," thought Deronda. Her person, 
her voice, her exquisite utterance, were one strong 
appeal to belief and tenderness. Yet what had 
been the history which had brought her to this 
desolation ? He was going on a strange errand — 
to ask shelter for this waif. Then there occurred 
to him the beautiful story Plutarch somewhere 
tells of the Delphic women: how when the 
Msenads, outworn with their torch-lit wander- 
ings, lay down to sleep in the market-place, the 
matrons came and stood silently round them 
to keep guard over their slumbers ; then, when 
they waked, ministered to them tenderly and saw 
them safely to their own borders. He could trust 
the women he was going to for having hearts as 

Deronda felt himself growing older this evening 
and entering on a new phase in finding a life to 
which his own had come — perhaps as a rescue; but 
how to make sure that snatching from death was 
rescue ? The moment of finding a fellow-creature 
is often as full of mingled doubt and exultation 
as the moment of finding an idea. 



Life is a various mother : now she dons 

Her plumes and briUiauts, climbs the marble stairs 

With head aloft, nor ever turns her eyes 

On lackeys who attend her ; now she dwells 

Grim-clad up darksome alleys, breathes hot gin, 

And screams in pauper riot. 

But to these 
She came a frugal matron, neat and deft, 
"With cheerful morning thoughts and quick device 
To find the much in little. 

Mrs Meyeick'S house was not noisy : the front 
parlour looked on the river, and the back on 
gardens, so that though she was reading aloud 
to her daughters, the window could be left open 
to freshen the air of the small double room where 
a lamp and two candles were burning. The 
candles were on a table apart for Kate, who was 
drawing illustrations for a publisher ; the lamp 
was not only for the reader but for Amy and Mab, 
who were embroidering satin cushions for "the 
great world." 

Outside, the house looked very narrow and 


shabby, the bright light through the holland blind 
showing the heavy old-fashioned window-frame ; 
but it is pleasant to know that many such grim- 
walled slices of space in our foggy London have 
been, and still are the homes of a culture the 
more spotlessly free from vulgarity, because poverty 
has rendered everything like display an imper- 
sonal question, and all the grand shows of the 
world simply a spectacle which rouses no petty 
rivalry or vain effort after possession. 

The Meyricks' was a home of that kind ; and 
they all clung to this particular house in a row 
because its interior was filled with objects always 
in the same places, which for the mother held 
memories of her marriage time, and for the young 
ones seemed as necessary and uncriticised a part 
of their world as the stars of the Great Bear seen 
from the back windows. Mrs Meyrick had borne 
much stint of other matters that she might be 
able to keep some engravings specially cherished 
by her husband ; and the narrow spaces of wall 
held a world-history in scenes and heads which 
the children had early learned by heart. The 
chairs and tables were also old friends preferred 
to new. But in these two little parlours with 
no furniture that a broker would have cared to 
cheapen except the prints and piano, there was 


space and apparatus for a wide-glancing, nicely- 
select life, open to the highest things in music, 
painting, and poetry. I am not sure that in the 
times of greatest scarcity, before Kate could get 
paid work, these ladies had always had a servant 
to light their fires and sweep their rooms; yet 
they were fastidious in some points, and could 
not believe that the manners of ladies in the 
fashionable world were so full of coarse selfish- 
ness, petty quarrelling, and slang as they are repre- 
sented to be in what are called literary photo- 
graphs. The Meyricks had their little oddities, 
streaks of eccentricity from the mother's blood 
as well as the father's, their minds being like 
mediaeval houses with unexpected recesses and 
openings from this into that, flights of steps and 
sudden outlooks. 

But mother and daughters were all united by 
a triple bond — family love; admiration for the 
finest work, the best action; and habitual in- 
dustry. Hans's desire to spend some of his money 
in making their lives more luxurious had been 
resisted by all of them, and both they and he had 
been thus saved from regrets at the threatened 
triumph of his yearning for art over the attractions 
of secured income — a triumph that would by-and- 
by oblige him to give up his fellowship. They 


could all afford to laugh at his Gavarni-carica- 
tures and to hold him blameless in following a 
natural bent which their unselfishness and in- 
dependence had left without obstacle. It was 
enough for them to go on in their old way, only 
having a grand treat of opera-going (to the gal- 
lery) when Hans came home on a visit. 

Seeing the group they made this evening, one 
could hardly wish them to change their way of 
life. They were all alike small, and so in due pro- 
portion with their miniature rooms. Mrs Mey- 
rick was reading aloud from a French book : she 
was a lively little woman, half French, half Scotch, 
with a pretty articulateness of speech that seemed 
to make daylight in her hearer's understanding. 
Though she was not yet fifty, her rippling hair, 
covered by a quakerish net cap, was chiefly grey, 
but her eyebrows were brown as the bright eyes 
below them ; her black dress, almost like a priest's 
cassock with its row of buttons, suited a neat 
figure hardly five feet high. The daughters were 
to match the mother, except that Mab had Hans's 
light hair and complexion, with a bossy irregular 
brow and other quaintnesses that reminded one 
of him. Everything about them was compact, 
from the firm coils of their hair, fastened back d 
la Chinoise, to their grey skirts in puritan non- 


conformity with the fashion, which at that time 
would have demanded that four feminine circum- 
ferences should fill all the free space in the front 
parlour. All four, if they had been w^ax-work, 
might have been packed easily in a fashionable 
lady's travelling trunk. Their faces seemed full 
of speech, as if their minds had been shelled, 
after the manner of horse-chestnuts, and become 
brightly visible. The only large thing of its kind 
in the room was Hafiz, the Persian cat, comfort- 
ably poised on the brown leather back of a 
chair, and opening his large eyes now and then 
to see that the lower animals were not in any 

The book Mrs Meyrick had before her was 
Erckmann-Chatrian's Histoire d'un Consent. She 
had just finished reading it aloud, and Mab, who 
had let her work fall on the ground while she 
stretched her head forward and fixed her eyes 
on the reader, exclaimed — 

" I think that is the finest story in the world." 

" Of course, Mab ! " said Amy, " it is the last 
you have heard. Everything that pleases you is 
the best in- its turn." 

" It is hardly to be called a story," said Kate. 
''It is a bit of history brought near us with a 
strong telescope. We can see the soldier's faces : 


no, it is more than that — we can hear everything 
— we can almost hear their hearts beat." 

"I don't care what you call it," said Mab, 
flirting away her thimble. " Call it a chapter in 
Eevelations. It makes me want to do something 
good, something grand. It makes me so sorry for 
everybody. It makes me like Schiller — I want 
to take the world in my arms and kiss it. I must 
kiss you instead, little mother 1 " She threw her 
arms round her mother's neck. 

" Whenever you are in that mood, Mab, down 
goes your work," said Amy. " It would be doing 
something good to finish your cushion without 
soiling it." 

"Oh — oh — oh!" groaned Mab, as she stooped 
to pick up her work and thimble. " I wish I had 
three wounded conscripts to take care of" 

" You would spin their beef-tea while you were 
talking," said Amy. 

" Poor Mab ! don't be hard on her," said the 
mother. "Give me the embroidery now, child. 
You go on with your enthusiasm, and I will go 
on with the pink and white poppy." 

" Well, ma, I think you are more caustic than 
Amy," said Kate, while she drew her head back 
to look at her drawing. 

" Oh — oh — oh ! " cried Mab again, rising and 


stretching her arms. " I wish something wonder- 
ful would happen. I feel like the deluge. The 
waters of the great deep are broken up, and the 
windows of heaven are opened. I must sit down 
and play the scales." 

Mab was opening the piano while the others 
were laughing at this climax, when a cab stopped 
before the house, and there forthwith came a quick 
rap of the knocker. 

"Dear me!" said Mrs Meyrick, starting up, 
" it is after ten, and Phoebe is gone to bed." She 
hastened out, leaving the parlour door open. 

"Mr Deronda!" The girls could hear this 
exclamation from their mamma. Mab clasped 
her hands, saying in a loud whisper, "There 
now! something is going to happen;" Kate 
and Amy gave up their work in amazement. 
But Deronda's tone in reply was so low that 
they could not hear his words, and Mrs Meyrick 
immediately closed the parlour door. 

" I know I am trusting to your goodness in a 
most extraordinary way," Deronda went on, after 
giving his brief narrative, " but you can imagine 
how helpless I feel with a young creature like 
this on my hands. I could not go with her 
among strangers, and in her nervous state I 
should dread taking her into a house full of 


servants. I have trusted to your mercy. I hope 
you will not think my act unwarrantable." 

" On the contrary. You have honoured me by 
trusting me. I see your difficulty. Pray bring 
her in. I will go and prepare the girls." 

While Deronda went back to the cab, Mrs 
Mejrrick turned into the parlour again and said, 
" Here is somebody to take care of instead of your 
wounded conscripts, Mab : a poor girl who was 
going to drown herself in despair. Mr Deronda 
found her only just in time to save her. He brought 
her along in his boat, and did not know what else 
it would be safe to do with her, so he has trusted us 
and brought her here. It seems she is a Jewess, but 
quite refined, he says — knowing Italian and music." 

The three girls, wondering and expectant, came 
forward and stood near each other in mute con- 
fidence that ihey were all feeling alike under this 
appeal to their compassion. Mab looked rather 
awe-stricken, as if this answer to her wish were 
something preternatural 

Meanwhile Deronda going to the door of the 
cab where the pale face was now gazing out with 
roused observation, said, " I have brought you to 
some of the kindest people in the world: there 
are daughters like you. It is a happy home. 
Will you let me take you to them?" 


She stepped out obediently, putting her hand 
in his and forgetting her hat ; and when Deronda 
led her into the full light of the parlour where the 
four little women stood awaiting her, she made a 
picture that would have stirred much duller sensi- 
bilities than theirs. At first she was a little dazed 
by the sudden light, and before she had concen- 
trated her glance he had put her hand into the 
mother's. He was inwardly rejoicing that the 
Meyricks were so small: the dark-curled head 
was the highest among them. The poor wanderer 
could not be afraid of these gentle faces so near 
hers ; and now she was looking at each of them 
in turn while the mother said, "You must be 
weary, poor child." 

"We will take care of you — we will comfort 
you — we will love you," cried Mab, no longer 
able to restrain herself, and taking the small right 
hand caressingly between both her own. This 
gentle welcoming warmth was penetrating the 
bewildered one : she hung back just enough to 
see better the four faces in front of her, whose 
goodwill was being reflected in hers, not in any 
smile, but in that undefinable change which tells 
us that anxiety is passing into contentment. For 
an instant she looked up at Deronda, as if she 
were referring all this mercy to him, and then 


again turning to Mrs Meyrick, said with more 
collectedness in lier sweet tones than lie had 
heard before — 

" I am a stranger. I am a Jewess. You might 
have thought I was wicked." 

" No, we are sure you are good," burst out Mab. 

"We think no evil of you, poor child. You 
shall be safe with us," said Mrs Meyrick. " Come 
now and sit down. You must have some food, and 
then go to rest." 

The stranger looked up again at Deronda, who 
said — 

" You will have no more fears with these 
friends ? You will rest to-night ? " 

" Oh, I should not fear. I should rest. I think 
these are the ministering angels." 

Mrs Meyrick wanted to lead her to a seat, but 
again hanging back gently, the poor weary thing 
spoke as if with a scruple at being received with- 
out a further account of herself: 

" My name is Mirah Lapidoth. I am come a 
long way, all the way from Prague by myself. I 
made my escape. I ran away from dreadful things. 
I came to find my mother and brother in London. 
I had been taken from my mother when I was 
little, but I thought I could find her again. I 
had trouble — the houses were all gone — I could 


not find her. It has been a long while, and T had 
not much money. That is why I am in distress." 

''Our mother will be good to you," cried Mab. 
" See what a nice little mother she is ! " 

" Do sit down now," said Kate, moving a chair 
forward, while Amy ran to get some tea. 

Mirah resisted no longer, but seated herself with 
perfect grace, crossing her little feet, laying her 
hands one over the other on her lap, and looking 
at her friends with placid reverence ; whereupon 
Hafiz, who had been watching the scene restlessly, 
came forward with tail erect and rubbed himself 
against her ankles. Deronda felt it time to take 
his leave. 

" Will you allow me to come again and inquire 
—perhaps at five to-morrow ? " he said to Mrs 

" Yes, pray ; we shall have had time to make 
acquaintance then." 

" Good - bye," said Deronda, looking down at 
Mirah, and putting out his hand. She rose as she 
took ifc, and the moment brought back to them 
both strongly the other moment when she had 
first taken that outstretched hand. She lifted 
her eyes to his and said with reverential fervour, 
" The God of our fathers bless you and deliver you 
from all evil as you have delivered me. I did 


not believe there was any man so good. None 
before have thought me worthy of the best. You 
found me poor and miserable, yet you have given 
me the best." 

Deronda could not speak, but with silent adieux 
to the Meyricks, hurried away. 





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Let thy chief terror be of thine own soul : 
There, 'mid the throng of hurrying desires 
That trample o'er the dead to seize their spoil, 
Lui-ks vengeance, footless, irresistible 
As exhalations laden with slow death, 
And o'er the fairest troop of captured joys 
Breathes pallid pestUence. 




VOL. n. 




All Rights reserved 

At p. 336, the quotation from Tennyson should read thus ; 

" This is truth the poet sings, 
That a soitow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things." 

—Tennyson : Locksley Hall. 




" I pity the man who can travel from Dan to Beersheba, and say, ' 'Tis 
all barren ; ' and so it is : and so is all the world to him who will not 
cultivate the fruits it oflfers."— Stbbne ; Sentimental Journey. 

To say that Deronda was romantic would be to 
misrepresent him ; but under his calm and some- 
what self-repressed exterior there was a fervour 
which made him easily find poetry and romance 
among the events of everyday life. And perhaps 
poetry and romance are as plentiful as ever in the 
world except for those phlegmatic natures who I 
suspect would in any age have regarded them as 
a dull form of erroneous thinking. They exist very 
easily in the same room with the microscope and 


even in railway carriages : what banishes them is 
the vacuum in gentlemen and lady passengers. 
How should all the apparatus of heaven and earth, 
from the farthest firmament to the tender bosom 
of the mother who nourished us, make poetry for 
a mind that has no movements of awe and tender- 
ness, no sense of fellowship which thrills from the 
near to the distant, and back again from the dis- 
tant to the near ? 

To Deronda this event of finding Mirah was as 
heart - stirring as anything that befell Orestes or 
Rinaldo. He sat up half the night, living again 
through the moments since he had first discerned 
Mirah on the river-brink, with the fresh and fresh 
vividness which belongs to emotive memory. When 
he took up a book to try and dull this urgency of in- 
ward vision, the printed words were no more than 
a network through which he saw and heard every- 
thing as clearly as before — saw not only the actual 
events of two hours, but possibilities of what had 
been and what might be which those events were 
enough to feed with the warm blood of passion- 
ate hope and fear. Something in his own experi- 
ence caused Mirah's search after her mother to lay 
hold with peculiar force on his imagination. The 
first prompting of sympathy was to aid her in the 
search : if given persons were extant in London 


there were ways of finding them, as subtle as 
scientific experiment, the right machinery being 
set at work. But here the mixed feelings which 
belonged to Deronda's kindred experience natu- 
rally transfused themselves into his anxiety on 
behalf of Mirah. 

The desire to know his own mother, or to know 
about her, was constantly haunted with dread; 
and in imagining what might befall Mirah it 
quickly occurred to him that finding the mother 
and brother from whom she had been parted 
when she was a little one might turn out to be a 
calamity. When she was in the boat she said 
that her mother and brother were good ; but the 
goodness might have been chiefly in her own 
ignorant innocence and yearning memory, and the 
ten or twelve years since the parting had been 
time enough for much worsening. Spite of his 
strong tendency to side with the objects of pre- 
judice, and in general with those who got the 
worst of it, his interest had never been practically 
drawn towards existing Jews, and the facts he 
knew about them, whether^ they walked con- 
spicuous in fine apparel or lurked in by-streets, 
were chiefly of the sort most repugnant to him. 
Of learned and accomplished Jews he took it for 
granted that they had dropped their religion, and 


wished to be merged in the people of their native 
lands. Scorn flung at a Jew as such would have 
roused all his sympathy in griefs of inheritance ; 
but the indiscriminate scorn of a race will often 
strike a specimen who has well earned it on his own 
account, and might fairly be gibbeted as a rascally 
son of Adam. It appears that the Caribs, who 
know little of theology, regard thieving as a prac- 
tice peculiarly connected with Christian tenets, and 
probably they could allege experimental grounds 
for this opinion. Deronda could not escape (who 
can?) knowing ugly stories of Jewish character- 
istics and occupations ; and though one of his 
favourite protests was against the severance of 
past and present history, he was like others who 
shared his protest, in never having cared to reach 
any more special conclusions about actual Jews 
than that they retained the virtues and vices of a 
long-oppressed race. But now that Mirah's long- 
ing roused his mind to a closer survey of details, 
very disagreeable images urged themselves of 
what it might be to find out this middle-aged 
Jewess and her son. To be sure, there was the 
exquisite refinement and charm of the creature 
herself to make a presumption in favour of her 
immediate kindred, but — he must wait to know 
more: perhaps through Mrs Meyrick he might 


gather some guiding hints from Mirah's own lips. 
Her voice, her accent, her looks — all the sweet 
purity that clothed her as with a consecrating 
garment made him shrink the more from giving 
her, either ideally or practically, an association 
with what was hateful or contaminating. But 
these fine words with which we fumigate and 
becloud unpleasant facts are not the language in 
which we think. Deronda's thinking went on in 
rapid images of what might be : he saw himself 
guided by some official scout into a dingy street ; 
he entered through a dim doorway, and saw a 
hawk-eyed woman, rough-headed, and ynwashed, 
cheapening a hungry girl's last bit of finery ; or 
in some quarter only the more hideous, for being 
smarter, he found himself under the breath of a 
young Jew talkative and familiar, willing to show 
his acquaintance with gentlemen's tastes, and not 
fastidious in any transactions with which tli'^y 
would favour him — and so on through the brief 
chapter of his experience in this kind. Excuse 
him : his mind was not apt to run spontaneously 
into insulting ideas, or to practise a form of wit 
which identifies Moses with the advertisement 
sheet ; but he was just now governed by dread, 
and if Mirah's parents had been Christian, the 
chief difference would have been that his forebod- 


ings would have been fed with wider knowledge. 
It was the habit of his mind to connect dread 
with unknown parentage, and in this case as well 
as his own there was enough to make the connec- 
tion reasonable. 

But what was to be done with Mirah? She 
needed shelter and protection in the fullest sense, 
and all his chivalrous sentiment roused itself to 
insist that the sooner and the more fully he could 
engage for her the interest of others besides him- 
self, the better he should fulfil her claims on him. 
He had no right to provide for her entirely, 
though he might be able to do so ; the very depth 
of the impression she had produced made him 
desire that she should understand herself to be 
entirely independent of him ; and vague visions of 
the future which he tried to dispel as fantastic 
left their influence in an anxiety, stronger than 
any motive he could give for it, that those who 
saw his actions closely should be acquainted from 
the first with the history of his relation to Mirah. 
He had learned to hate secrecy about the grand 
ties and obligations of his life — to hate it the 
more because a strong spell of interwoven sensi- 
bilities hindered him from breaking such secrecy. 
Deronda had made a vow to himself that — since 
the truths which disgrace mortals are not all of 


their own making — the truth should never be 
made a disgrace to another by his act. He was not 
without terror lest he should break this vow, and 
fall into the apologetic philosophy which explains 
the world into containing nothing better than 
one's own conduct. 

At one moment he resolved to tell the whole of 
his adventure to Sir Hugo and Lady Mallinger 
the next morning at breakfast, but the possibility 
that something quite new might reveal itself on 
his next visit to Mrs Meyrick's checked this im- 
pulse, and he finally went to sleep on the con- 
clusion that he would wait until that visit had 
been made. 



" It will hardly be denied that even in this frail and coirnpted world, 
we sometimes meet persons who, in their veiy mien and aspect, as well as 
in the whole habit of life, manifest such a signature and stamp of virtue, 
as to make our judgment of them a matter of intuition rather than 
the result of continued examination." — Alexander Knox : quoted in 
Southey's Life of Wesley. 

MiEAH said that she had slept well that night; and 
when she came down in Mah's black dress, her 
dark hair curling in fresh fibrils as it gradually- 
dried from its plenteous bath, she looked like one 
who was beginning to take comfort after the long 
sorrow and watching which had paled her cheek 
and made deep blue semicircles under her eyes. 
It was Mab who carried her breakfast and ushered 
her down — with some pride in the effect pro- 
duced by a pair of tiny felt slippers which she 
had rushed out to buy because there were no shoes 
in the house small enough for Mirah, whose 
borrowed dress ceased about her ankles and dis- 
played the cheap clothing that moulding itself on 
her feet seemed an adornment as choice as the 


sheaths of buds. The farthing buckles were 

" Oh, if you please, mamma ! " cried Mab, clasp- 
ing her hands and stooping towards Mirah's feet, 
as she entered the parlour. " Look at the slippers, 
how beautifully they fit! I declare she is like 
the Queen Budoor — 'two delicate feet, the work of 
the protecting and all-recompensing Creator, sup- 
port her; and I wonder how they can sustain 
what is above them.'" 

Mirah looked down at her own feet in a child- 
like way and then smiled at Mrs Meyrick, who 
was saying inwardly, " One could hardly imagine 
this creature having an evil thought. But wise 
people would tell me to be cautious." She re- 
turned Mirah's smile and said, " I fear the feet 
have had to sustain their burthen a little too often 
lately. But to-day she will rest and be my 

" And she will tell you so many things and 1 
shall not hear them," grumbled Mab, who felt 
herself in the first volume of a delightful romance 
and obliged to miss some chapters because she 
had to go to pupils. 

Kate was already gone to make sketches along 
the river, and Amy was away on business errands. 
It was what the mother wished, to be alone with 


this stranger, whose story must be a sorrowful 
one, yet was needful to be told. 

The small front parlour was as good as a temple 
that morning. The sunlight was on the river and 
soft air came in through the open window; the 
walls showed a glorious silent cloud of witnesses 
— the Virgin soaring amid her cherubic escort ; 
grand Melancholia with her solemn universe ; the 
Prophets and Sibyls ; the School of Athens ; the 
Last Supper ; mystic groups where far-off ages 
made one moment ; grave Holbein and Eembrandt 
heads ; the Tragic Muse ; last- century children at 
their musings or their play ; Italian poets — all 
were there through the medium of a little black 
and white. The neat mother who had weathered 
her troubles, and come out of them with a face 
stiU cheerful, was sorting coloured wools for her 
embroidery. Hafiz purred on the window-ledge, 
the clock on the mantelpiece ticked without hurry, 
and the occasional sound of wheels seemed to lie 
outside the more massive central quiet. Mrs 
Meyrick thought that this quiet might be the best 
invitation to speech on the part of her companion, 
and chose not to disturb it by remark. Mirah 
sat opposite in her former attitude, her hands 
clasped on her lap, her ankles crossed, her eyes at 
first travelling slowly over the objects around her, 


but finally resting with a sort of placid reverence 
on Mrs Meyrick. At length she began to speak 

" I remember my mother's face better than any- 
thing; yet I was not seven when I was taken 
away, and I am nineteen now/' 

"I can understand that" said Mrs Meyrick. 
"There are some earliest things that last the 

" Oh yes, it was the earliest. I think, my life 
began with waking up and loving my mother's face : 
it was so near to me, and her arms were round 
me, and she sang to me. One hymn she sang so 
often, so often : and then she taught me to sing 
it with her : it was the first I ever sang. They 
were always Hebrew hymns she sang; and because 
I never knew the meaning of the words they 
seemed full of nothing but our love and happi- 
ness. When I lay in my little bed and it was 
aU white above me, she used to bend over me 
between me and the white, and sing in a sweet 
low voice. I can dream myself back into that 
time when I am awake, and often it comes back 
to me in my sleep — my hand is very little, I put 
it up to her face and she kisses it. Sometimes in 
my dream I begin to tremble and think that we 
are both dead ; but then I wake up and my hand 


lies like this, and for a moment I hardly know 
myself. But if I could see my mother again, I 
should know her." 

"You must expect some change after twelve 
years," said Mrs Meyrick, gently. " See my grey 
hair: ten years ago it was bright brown. The 
days and the months pace over us like rest- 
less little birds, and leave the marks of their feet 
backwards and forwards ; especially when they 
are like birds with heavy hearts — then they tread 

" Ah, I am sure her heart has been heavy for 
want of me. But to feel her joy if we could meet 
again, and I could make her know how I love her 
and give her deep comfort after all her mourn- 
ing ! If that could be, I should mind nothing ; 
I should be glad that I have lived through my 
trouble. I did despair. The world seemed miser- 
able and wicked ; none helped me so that I could 
bear their looks and words ; I felt that my mother 
was dead, and death was the only way to her. 
But then in the last moment — yesterday, when 
I longed for the water to close over me — and I 
thought that death was the best image of mercy 
— then goodness came to me living, and I felt 
trust in the living. And — it is strange — but I 
began to hope that she was living too. And now 


I am with you — here — this morning, peace and 
hope have come into me like a flood. I want 
nothing ; I can wait ; because I hope and believe 
and am grateful — oh, so grateful ! You have not 
thought evil of me — you have not despised me." 

Mirah spoke with low-toned fervour, and sat 
as still as a picture aU the while. 

"Many others would have felt as we do, my 
dear," said Mrs Meyrick, feeling a mist come over 
her eyes as she looked at her work. 

" But I did not meet them — they did not come 
to me." 

" How was it that you were taken from your 
mother ? " 

" Ah, I am a long while coming to that. It is 
dreadful to speak of, yet I must tell you — I must 
tell you everything. My father — it was he who 
took me away. I thought we were only going on 
a little journey ; and I was pleased. There was 
a box with all my little things in. But we went 
on board a ship, and got farther and farther away 
from the land. Then I was ill ; and I thought it 
would never end — it was the first misery, and it 
seemed endless. But at last we landed. I knew 
nothing then, and believed what my father said. 
He comforted me, and told me I should go back 
to my mother. But it was America we had 


reached, and it was long years before we came 
back to Europe. At first I often asked my father 
when we were going back ; and I tried to learn 
writing fast, because I wanted to write to my 
mother ; but one day when he found me trying 
to write a letter, he took me on his knee and told 
me that my mother and brother were dead ; that 
was why we did not go back. I remember my 
brother a little ; he carried me once ; but he was 
not always at home. I believed my father when 
he said that they were dead. I saw them under 
the earth when he said they were there, with their 
eyes for ever closed. I never thought of its not 
being true ; and I used to cry every night in my 
bed for a long while. Then when she came so 
often to me, in my sleep, I thought she must be 
living about me though I could not always see 
her , and that comforted me. I was never afraid 
in the dark, because of that ; and very often in 
the day I used to shut my eyes and bury my face 
and try to see her and to hear her singing. I 
came to do that at last without shutting my 

Mirah paused with a sweet content in her face, 
as if she were having her happy vision, while she 
looked out towards the river. 

"Still your father was not unkind to you, I 


hope/' said Mrs Meyrick, after a minute, anxious 
to recall her. 

"No; he petted me, and took pains to teach 
me. He was an actor ; and I found out, after, 
that the * Coburg * I used to hear of his going to 
at home was a theatre. But he had more to do 
with the theatre than acting. He had not always 
been an actor ; he had been a teacher, aud knew 
many languages. His acting was not very good, 
I think ; but he managed the stage, and wrote 
and translated plays. An Italian lady, a singer, 
lived with us a long time. They both taught me ; 
and I had a master besides, who made me learn 
by heart and recite. I worked quite hard, though 
I was so little ; and I was not nine when I first 
went on the stage. I could easily learn things, 
and I was not afraid. But then and ever since 
I hated our way of life. My father had money, 
and we had finery about us in a disorderly way ; 
always there were men and women coming and 
going, there was loud laughing and disputing, 
strutting, snapping of fingers, jeering, faces I did 
not like to look at — though many petted and 
caressed me. But then I remembered my mother. 
Even at first when I understood nothing, I shrank 
away from all those things outside me into com- 
panionship with thoughts that were not like 



them ; and I gathered thoughts very fast, because 
I read many things — plays and poetry, Shake- 
speare and Schiller, and learned evil and good. 
My father began to believe that I might be a 
great singer : my voice was considered wonderful 
for a child ; and he had the best teaching for me. 
But it was painful that he boasted of me, and set 
me to sing for show at any minute, as if I had 
been a musical box. Once when I was ten years 
old, I played the part of a little girl who had been 
forsaken and did not know it, and sat singing to 
herself while she played with flowers. I did it 
without any trouble ; but the clapping and all the 
sounds of the theatre were hateful to me ; and I 
never liked the praise I had, because it seemed all 
very hard and unloving : I missed the love and 
the trust I had been born into. I made a life in 
my own thoughts quite different from everything 
about me : I chose what seemed to me beautiful 
out of the plays and everything, and made my 
world out of it; and it was like a sharp knife 
always grazing me that we had two sorts of life 
which jarred so with each other — women looking 
good and gentle on the stage, and saying good 
things as if they felt them, and directly after I saw 
them with coarse, ugly manners. My father some- 
times noticed my shrinking ways; and Signora 


said one day when I had been rehearsing, ' She 
will never be an artist : she has no notion of being 
anybody but herself. That does very well now, but 
by-and-by you will see — she will have no more 
face and action than a singing-bird.' My father 
was angry, and they quarrelled. I sat alone and 
cried, because what she had said was like a long 
unhappy future unrolled before me. I did not 
want to be an artist ; but this was what my father 
expected of me. After a while Signora left us, 
and a governess used to come and give me lessons 
in different things, because my father began to be 
afraid of my singing too much ; but I still acted 
from time to time. Eebellious feelings grew stronger 
in me, and I wished to get away from this life ; 
but I could not tell where to go, and I dreaded 
the world. Besides, I felt it would be wrong to 
leave my father ; I dreaded doing wrong, for I 
thought I might get wicked and hateful to myself, 
in the same way that many others seemed hateful 
to me. ^For so long, so long I had never felt my 
outside world happy ; and if I got wicked I should 
lose my world of happy thoughts where my mother 
lived with me. That was my childish notion all 
through those years. Oh how long they were ! " 

Mirah fell to musing again. 

" Had you no teaching about what was your 


duty I" said Mrs Meyrick. She did not like to 
say ' religion ' — finding lierseK on inspection rather 
dim as to what the Hebrew religion might have 
turned into at this date. 

" No — only that I ought to do what my father 
wished. He did not follow our religion at New 
York, and I think he wanted me not to know 
much about it. But because my mother used to 
take me to the synagogue, and I remembered sitting 
on her knee and looking through the railing and 
hearing the chanting and singing, I longed to go. 
One day when I was quite small I slipped out 
and tried to find the synagogue, but I lost myself 
a long while till a pedlar questioned me and took 
me home. My father, missing me, had been in 
much fear, and was very angry. I too had been 
so frightened at losing myself that it was long be- 
fore I thought of venturing out again. But after 
Signora left us we went to rooms where our land- 
lady was a Jewess and observed her religion. I 
asked her to take me with her to the synagogue ; 
and I read in her prayer-books and Bible, and when 
I had money enough I asked her to buy me books 
of my own, for these books seemed a closer com- 
panionship with my mother : I knew that she 
must have looked at the very words and said 
them. In that way I have come to know a little 


of our religion, and tlie history of our people, be- 
sides piecing together what I read in plays and 
other books about Jews and Jewesses ; because I 
was sure that my mother obeyed her religion. I 
had left off asking my father about her. . It is very 
dreadful to say it, but I began to disbelieve him. 
I had found that he did not always tell the truth, 
and made promises without meaning to keep them ; 
and that raised my suspicion that my mother and 
brother were still alive though he had told me 
that they were dead. For in going over the past 
again and again as I got older and knew more, I 
felt sure that my mother had been deceived, and 
had expected to see us back again after a very 
little while ; and my father's taking me on his 
knee and telling me that my mother and brother 
were both dead seemed to me now nothing but a 
bit of acting, to set my mind at rest. The cruelty 
of that falsehood sank into me, and I hated all un- 
truth because of it. I wrote to my mother secretly : 
I knew the street, Colman Street, where we lived, 
and that it was near Blackfriars Bridge and the 
Coburg, and that our name was Cohen then, 
though my father called us Lapidoth, because, 
he said, it was a name of his forefathers in 
Poland. I sent my letter secretly ; but no answer 
came, and I thought there was no hope for me. 


Our life in America did not last much longer. 
My father suddenly told me we were to pack 
up and go to Hamburg, and I was rather glad. 
I hoped we might get among a different sort of 
people, and I knew German quite well — some Ger- 
man plays almost all by heart. My father spoke 
it better than he spoke English. I was thirteen 
then, and I seemed to myself quite old — I knew 
so much, and yet so little. I think other children 
cannot feel as I did. I had often wished that I 
had been drowned when I was going away from 
my mother. But I set myself to obey and suffer : 
what else could I do ? One day when we were 
on our voyage, a new thought came into my mind. 
I was not very ill that time, and I kept on deck a 
good deal. My father -acted and sang and joked 
to amuse people on board, and I used often to 
overhear remarks about him. One day, when I was 
looking at the sea and nobody took notice of me, 
I overheard a gentleman say, ' Oh, he is one of those 
clever Jews — a rascal, I shouldn't wonder. There's 
no race like them for cunning in the men and 
beauty in the women. I wonder what market he 
means that daughter for.' "When I heard this, it 
darted into my mind that the unhappiness in my 
life came from my being a Jewess, and that always, 
to the end the world would think slightly of me 


and that I must bear it, for I should be judged by 
that name ; and it comforted me to believe that 
my suffering was part of the affliction of my people, 
my part in the long song of mourning that has 
been going on through ages and ages. For if 
many of our race were wicked and made merry in 
their wickedness — what was that but part of the 
affliction borne by the just among them, who were 
despised for the sins of their brethren ? — But you 
have not rejected me." 

Mirah had changed her tone in this last sen- 
tence, having suddenly reflected that at this 
moment she had reason not for complaint but for 

" And we will try to save you from being judged 
unjustly by others, my poor child," said Mrs Mey- 
rick, who had now given up aU attempt at going 
on with her work, and sat listening with folded 
hands and a face hardly less eager than Mab's 
would have been. "Go on, go on : tell me all." 

" After that we lived in different towns — Ham- 
burg and Vienna, the longest. I began to study 
singing again, and my father always got money 
about the theatres. I think he brought a good 
deal of money from America : I never knew why 
we left. For some time he was in great spirits 
about my singing, and he made me rehearse parts 


and act continually. He looked forward to my 
coming out in the opera. But by-and-by it seemed 
that my voice would never be strong enough — it 
did not fulfil its promise. My master at Vienna 
said, * Don't strain it further : it will never do for 
the public : — it is gold, but a thread of gold dust.' 
My father was bitterly disappointed : we were not 
so well off at that time. I think I have not quite 
told you what I felt about my father. I knew he 
was fond of me and meant to indulge me, and that 
made me afraid of hurting him ; but he always 
mistook what would please me and give me happi- 
ness. It was his nature to take everything lightly ; 
and I soon left off asking him any question about 
things that I cared for much, because he always 
turned them off with a joke. He would even 
ridicule our own people ; and once when he had 
been imitating their movements and their tones in 
praying, only to make others laugh, I could not 
restrain myself— for I always had an anger in my 
heart about my mother — and when we were alone, 
I said, ' Father, you ought not to mimic our own 
people before Christians who mock them : would it 
not be bad if I mimicked you, that they might 
mock you ? ' But he only shrugged his shoulders 
and laughed and pinched my chin, and said, ' You 
couldn't do it, my dear.' It was this way of turn- 


ing off everything, that made a great wall between 
me and my father, and whatever I felt most I 
took the most care to hide from him. For there 
were some things — when they were laughed at 
I could not bear it : the world seemed like a hell 
to me. Is this world and all the life upon it only 
like a farce or a vaudeville, where you find no 
great meanings ? Why then are there tragedies and 
grand operas, where men do diflBcult things and 
choose to suffer ? I think it is silly to speak of all 
things as a joke. And I saw that his wishing me to 
sing the greatest music, and parts in grand operas, 
was only wishing for what would fetch the great- 
est price. That hemmed in my gratitude for his 
affectionateness, and the tenderest feeling I had 
towards him was pity. Yes, I did sometimes pity 
him. He had aged and changed. Now he was 
no longer so lively. I thought he seemed worse — 
less good to others and to me. Every now and then 
in the latter years his gaiety went away suddenly, 
and he would sit at home silent and gloomy ; or he 
would come in and fling himself down and sob, 
just as I have done myself when I have been in 
trouble. If I put my hand on his knee and said, 
* What is the matter, father ? ' he would make no 
answer, but would draw my arm round his neck 
and put his arm round me, and go on crying. 


There never came any confidence between ns ; but 
ob, I was sorry for him. At those moments I 
knew he must feel his life bitter, and I pressed my 
cheek against his head and prayed. Those mo- 
ments were what most bound me to him ; and I 
used to think how much my mother once loved 
him, else she would not have married him. 

" But soon there came the dreadful time. We 
had been at Pestb and we came back to Vienna. 
In spite of what my master Leo had said, my 
father got me an engagement, not at the opera,- 
but to take singing parts at a suburb theatre in 
Vienna. He had nothing to do with the theatre 
then ; I did not understand what he did, but I 
think he was continually at a gambling-house, 
though he was careful always about taking me to 
the theatre. I was very miserable. The plays I 
acted in were detestable to me. Men came about 
us and wanted to talk to me : women and men 
seemed to look at me with a sneering smile : it was 
no better than a fiery furnace. Perhaps I make 
it worse than it was — you don't know that life ; 
but the glare and the faces, and my having to go 
on and act and sing what I hated, and then see 
people who came to stare at me behind the scenes 
— it was all so much worse than when I was a 
little girl. I went through with it ; I did it ; I 


had set my mind to o"bey my father and work, for 
I saw nothing better that I could do. But I felt 
that my voice was getting weaker, and I knew 
that my acting was not good except when it was 
not really acting, but the part was one that I could 
be myself in, and some feeling within me carried 
me along. That was seldom. 

" Then in the midst of all this, the news came 
to me one morning that my father had been taken 
to prison, and he had sent for me. He did not tell 
me the reason why he was there, but he ordered 
me to go to an address he gave me; to see a Count 
who would be able to get him released The ad- 
dress was to some public rooms where I was to ask 
for the Count, and beg him to come to my father. 
I found him, and recognised him as a gentleman 
whom I had seen the other night for the first time 
behind the scenes. That agitated me, for I remem- 
bered his way of looking at me and kissing my 
hand — I thought it was in mockery. But I de- 
livered my errand and he promised to go immedi- 
ately to my father, who came home again that very 
evening, bringing the Count with him. I now 
began to feel a horrible dread of this man, for he 
worried me with his attentions, his eyes were 
always on me : I felt sure that whatever else there 
might be in his mind towards me, below it all 


there was scorn for the Jewess and the actress. 
And when he came to me the next day in the 
theatre and would put my shawl round me, a terror 
took hold of me ; I saw that my father wanted me 
to look pleased. The Count was neither very 
young nor very old : his hair and eyes were pale ; 
he was tall and walked heavily, and his face was 
heavy and grave except when he looked at me. 
He smiled at me, and his smile went through me 
with horror : I could not tell why he was so much 
worse to me than other men. Some feelings are 
like our hearing : they come as sounds do, hefore 
we know their reason. My father talked to me 
about him when we were alone, and praised him 
— said what a good friend he had been. I said 
nothing, because I supposed he had got my father 
out of prison. When the Count came again, my 
father left the room. He asked me if I liked 
being on the stage. I said No, I only acted in 
obedience to my father. He always spoke French, 
and called me ' petit ange ' and such things, which 
I felt insulting. I knew he meant to make love 
to me, and I had it firmly in my mind that a 
nobleman and one who was not a Jew could have 
no love for me that was not half contempt. 
But then he told me that I need not act any 
longer ; he wished me to visit him at his 


beautiful place, where I might be queen of every- 
thing. It was difficult to me to speak, I felt so 
shaken with anger: I could only say, *I would 
rather stay on the stage for ever,' and I left him 
there. Hurrying out of the room I saw my father 
sauntering in the passage. My heart was crushed. 
I went past him and locked myself up. It had 
sunk into me that my father was in a conspiracy 
with that man against me. But the next day he 
persuaded me to come out : he said that I had 
mistaken everything, and he would explain : if I 
did not come out and act and fulfil my engage- 
ment, we should be ruined and he must starve. 
So I went on acting, and for a week or more the 
Count never came near me. My father changed 
our lodgings, and kept at home except when he 
went to the theatre with m6. He. began one day 
to speak discouragingly of my acting, and say I 
could never go on singing in public — I should 
lose my voice — I ought to think of my future, and 
not put my nonsensical feelings between me and 
my fortune. He said, * What will you do ? You 
will be brought down to sing and beg at people's 
doors. You have had a splendid offer and ought 
to accept it.' I could not speak : a horror took 
possession of me when I thought of my mother 
and of him. I felt for the first time that I should 


not do wrong to leave him. But the next day he 
told me that he had put an end to my engagement 
at the theatre, and that we were to go to Prague. 
I was getting suspicious of everything, and my 
will was hardening to act against him. It took us 
two days to pack and get ready ; and I had it in 
my mind that I might be obliged to run away 
from my father, and then I would come to Lon- 
don and try if it were possible to find my mother. 
1 had a little money, and I sold some things to 
get more. I packed a few clothes in a little 
bag that I could carry with me, and I kept my 
mind on the watch. My father's silence — his let- 
ting drop that subject of the Count's offer — made 
me feel sure that there was a plan against me. 
I felt as if it had been a plan to take me to a 
madhouse. I once saw a picture of a madhouse, 
that I could never forget ; it seemed to me very 
much like some of the life I had seen — the people 
strutting, quarrelling, leering — the faces with 
cunning and malice in them. It was my will to 
keep myself from wickedness ; and I prayed for 
help. I had seen what despised women were : 
and my heart turned against my father, for I saw 
always behind him that man who made me shud- 
der. You wiU think I had not enough reason for 
my suspicions, and perhaps I had not, outside my 


own feeling ; but it seemed to me that my mind 
had been lit up, and all that might be stood out 
clear and sharp. If I slept, it was only to see the 
same sort of things, and I could hardly sleep at 
all. Through our journey I was everywhere on 
the watch. I don't know why, but it came before 
me like a real event, that my father would sud- 
denly leave me and I should find myself with the 
Count where I could not get away from him. I 
thought God was warning me : my mother's voice 
was in my soul. It was dark when we reached 
Prague, and though the strange bunches of lamps 
were lit it was difficult to distinguish faces as we 
drove along the street. My father chose to sit 
outside — he was always smoking now — and I 
watched everything in spite of the darkness. I do 
believe I could see better then than ever I did be- 
fore : the strange clearness within seemed to have 
got outside me. It was not my habit to notice 
faces and figures much in the street ; but this night I 
saw every one ; and when we passed before a great 
hotel I caught sight only of a back that was passing 
in — the light of the great bunch of lamps a good 
way off feU on it. I knew it — before the face was 
turned, as it fell into shadow, I knew who it was. 
Help came to me. I feel sure help came to me. 
I did not sleep that night. I put on my plainest 


things — the cloak and hat I have worn ever since ; 
and I sat watching for the light and the sound of 
the doors being unbarred. Some one rose early 
— at four o'clock, to go to the railway. That gave 
me courage. I slipped out with my little bag 
under my cloak, and none noticed me. I had 
been a long while attending to the railway guide 
that I might learn the way to England ; and before 
the sun had risen I was in the train for Dresden. 
Then I cried for joy. I did not know whether 
my money would last out, but I trusted. I could 
sell the things in my bag, and the little rings in 
my ears, and I could live on bread only. My 
only terror was lest my father should follow me. 
But I never paused. I came on, and on, and on, 
only eating bread now and then. When I got to 
Brussels I saw that I should not have enough 
money, and I sold all that I could sell ; but here 
a strange thing happened. Putting my hand into 
the pocket of my cloak, I found a half-napoleon. 
Wondering and wondering how it came there, I 
remembered that on the way from Cologne there 
wasu a young workman sitting against me. I was 
frightened at every one, and did not like to be 
spoken to. At first he tried to talk, but when he 
saw that I did not like it, he left off. It was a 
long journey ; I ate nothing but a bit of bread, 


and he once offered me some of the food he 
brought in, but I refused it. I do believe it was 
he who put that bit of gold in my pocket. With- 
out it I could hardly have got to Dover, and I did 
walk a good deal of the way from Dover to Lon- 
don. I knew I should look like a miserable beg- 
gar-girl. .1 wanted not to look very miserable, 
because if I found my mother it would grieve her 
to see me so. But oh, how vain my hope was that 
she would be there to see me come ! As soon as 
I set foot in London, I began to ask for Lambeth 
and Blackfriars Bridge, but they were a long way 
off, and I went wrong. At last I got to Blackfriars 
Bridge and asked for Colman Street. People 
shook their heads. None knew it. I saw it in 
my mind — our doorsteps, and the white tiles 
hung in the windows, and the large brick build- 
ing opposite with wide doors. But there was 
nothing like it. At last when I asked a trades- 
man where the Coburg Theatre and Colman 
Street were, he said, *0h, my little woman, 
that's all done away with. The old streets 
have been pulled down ; everything is new.' 
I turned away, and felt as if death had laid a 
hand on me. He said : ' Stop, stop ! young 
woman ; what is it you're wanting with Colman 
Street, eh?' meaning well, perhaps. But his 



tone was what I could not bear ; and how could 
I tell him what I wanted? I felt blinded and 
bewildered with a sudden shock. I suddenly felt 
that I was very weak and weary, and yet where 
could I go ? for I looked so poor and dusty, and 
had nothing with me — I looked like a street- 
beggar. And I was afraid of all places where I 
could enter. I lost my trust. I thought I was 
forsaken. It seemed that I had been in a fever 
of hope — delirious — all the way from Prague : I 
thought that I was helped, and I did nothing but 
strain my mind forward and think of finding my 
mother; and now — there I stood in a strange world. 
All who saw me would think ill of me, and I 
must herd with beggars. I stood on the bridge 
and looked along the river. People were going 
on to a steamboat. Many of them seemed poor, 
and I felt as if it would be a refuge to get away 
from the streets : perhaps the boat would take me 
where I could soon get into a solitude. I had still 
some pence left, and I bought a loaf when I went 
on the boat. I wanted to have a little time and 
strength to think of life and death. How could 
I live ? And now again it seemed that if ever I 
were to find my mother again, death was the way 
to her. I ate, that I might have strength to think. 
The boat set me down at a place along the river 


— I don't know where — and it was late in the 
evening. I found some large trees apart from the 
road and I sat down under them that I might 
rest through the night. Sleep must have soon 
come to me, and when I awoke it was morning. 
The hirds were singing, the dew was white about 
me, I felt chill and oh so lonely ! I got up and 
walked and followed the river a long way and then 
turned back again. There was no reason why I 
should go anywhere. The world about me seemed 
like a vision that was hurrying by while I stood 
still with my pain. My thoughts were stronger 
than I was : they rushed in and forced me to see 
all my life from the beginning ; ever since I was 
carried away from my mother I had felt myself a 
lost child taken up and used by strangers, who did 
not care what my life was to me, but only what I 
could do for them. It seemed all a weary wander- 
ing and heart-loneHness — as if I had been forced to 
go to merry-makings without the expectation of 
joy. And now it was worse. I was lost again, 
and I dreaded lest any stranger should notice me 
and speak to me. I had a terror of the world. 
None knew me; all would mistake me. I had 
seen so many in my life who made themselves 
glad with scorning, and laughed at another's shame. 
What could I do ? This life seemed to be closing 


in upon me with a wall of fire — everywhere there 
was scorching that made me shrink. The high 
sunlight made me shrink. And I began to think 
that my despair was the voice of God telling me 
to die. But it would take me long to die of 
hunger. Then I thought of my People, how they 
had been driven from land to land and been 
afflicted, and multitudes had died of misery in their 
wandering — was I the first? And in the wars 
and troubles when Christians were crudest, our 
fathers had sometimes slain their children and 
afterwards themselves ; it was to save them from 
being false apostates. That seemed to make it 
right for me to put an end to my life ; for calamity 
had closed me in too, and I saw no pathway but 
to evil. But my mind got into war with itself, 
for there were contrary things in it. I knew that 
some had held it wrong to hasten their own death, 
though they were in the midst of flames ; and 
while I had some strength left, it was a longing to 
bear if I ought to bear — else where was the good 
of all my life ? It had not been happy since the 
first years : when the light came every morning 
I used to think, ' I will bear it.' But always be- 
fore, I had some hope ; now it was gone. With 
these thoughts I wandered and wandered, in- 
wardly crying to the Most High, from whom I 


should not flee in death more than in life — though 
I had no strong faith that He cared for me. The 
strength seemed departing from my soul: deep 
below all my cries was the feeling that I was 
alone and forsaken. The more I thought, the 
wearier I got, till it seemed I was not thinking at 
all, but only the sky and the river and the Eternal 
God were in my souL And what was it whether 
I died or lived 1 If I lay down to die in the river, 
was it more than lying down to sleep ? — for there 
too I committed my soul — I gave myself up. I 
could not hear memories any more : I could only 
feel what was present in me — ^it was all one longing 
to cease from my weary life, which^seemed only a 
pain outside the great peace that I might enter 
into. That was how it was. When the evening 
came and the sun was gone, it seemed as if that 
was all I had to wait for. And a new strength 
came into me to will what I would do. You 
know what I did. I was going to die. You 
know what happened — did he not tell you? 
Faith came to me again: I was not forsaken. 
He told you how he found me?" 

Mrs Meyrick gave no audible answer, but 
pressed her lips against Mirah's forehead. 

"She's just a pearl : the mud has only washed 


her/^ was the fervid little woman's closing com- 
mentary when, tete-cb-tete with Deronda in the 
back parlour that evening, she had conveyed 
Mirah's story to him with much vividness. 

" What is your feeling about a search for this 
mother?" said Deronda. "Have you no fears? 
I have, I confess." 

"Oh, I believe the mother's good," said Mrs 
Meyrick, with rapid decisiveness. " Or was good. 
She may be dead — that's my fear. A good woman, 
you may depend : you may know it by the scoun- 
drel the father is. Where did the child get her 
goodness from? Wheaten flour has to be ac- 
counted for." 

Deronda was rather disappointed at this answer : 
he had wanted^ a confirmation of his own judg- 
ment, and he began to put in demurrers. The 
argument about the mother would not apply to 
the brother ; and Mrs Meyrick admitted that the 
brother might be an ugly likeness of the father. 
Then, as to advertising, if the name was Cohen, 
you might as well advertise for two undescribed 
terriers : and here Mrs Meyrick helped him, for 
the idea of an advertisement, already mentioned 
to Mirah, had roused the poor child's terror: 
she was convinced that her father would see it — 
he saw everything in the papers. Certainly there 


were safer means than advertising : men might be 
set to work whose business it was to find missing 
persons ; but Deronda wished Mrs Meyrick to feel 
with him that it would be wiser to wait, before 
seeking a dubious — perhaps a deplorable result; 
especially as he was engaged to go abroad the 
next week for a couple of months. If a search 
were made, he would like to be at hand, so that 
Mrs Meyrick might not be unaided in meeting 
any consequences — supposing that she would gen- 
erously continue to watch over Mirah. 

"We should be very jealous of any one who 
took the task from us," said Mrs Meyrick. '* She 
will stay under my roof : there is Hans's old room 
for her." 

" Will she be content to wait ? " said Deronda, 

"No trouble there! It is not her nature 
to run into planning and devising ; only to sub- 
mit. See how she submitted to that father. 
It was a wonder to herself how she found the will 
and contrivance to run away from him. About 
finding her mother, her only notion now is to 
trust : since you were sent to save her and we 
are good to her, she trusts that her mother will 
be found in the same unsought way. And when 
she is talking I catch her feeling like a child." 


Mrs Meyrick hoped that the sum Deronda put 
into her hands as a provision for Mirah's wants 
was more than would be needed : after a little 
while Mirah would perhaps like to occupy herself 
as the other girls did, and make herself independent. 
Deronda pleaded that she must need a long rest. 

" Oh yes ; we will hurry nothing," said Mrs 
Meyrick. " Eely upon it, she shall be taken ten- 
der care of. If you like to give me your address 
abroad, I will write to let you know how we get 
on. It is not fair that we should have all the 
pleasure of her salvation to ourselves. And be- 
sides, I want to make believe that I am doing 
something for you as well as for Mirah.'* 

"That is no make-believe. What should I 
have done without you last night? Everything 
would have gone wrong. I shall tell Hans that 
the best of having him for a friend is, knowing 
his mother." 

After that they joined the girls in the other 
room, where Mirah was seated placidly, while the 
others were telling her what they knew about Mr 
Deronda — his goodness to Hans, and all the vir- 
tues that Hans had reported of him. 

" Kate burns a pastille before his portrait every 
day," said Mab. " And I carry his signature in a 
little black-silk bag round my neck to keep off the 


cramp. And Amy says the multiplication-table 
in his name. We must all do something extra 
in honour of him, now he has brought you to us.'* 

"I suppose he is too great a person to want 
anything," said Mirah, smiling at Mab, and ap- 
pealing to the graver Amy. " He is perhaps very 
high in the world ? '* 

" He is very much above us in rank," said Amy. 
" He is related to grand people. I daresay he 
leans on some of the satin cushions we prick our 
fingers over." 

" I am glad he is of high rank," said Mirah, 
with her usual quietness. 

" Now, why are you glad of that ? " said Amy, 
rather suspicious of this sentiment, and on the 
watch for Jewish peculiarities which had not 

"Because I have always disliked men of high 
rank before." 

" Oh, Mr Deronda is not so very high," said 
Kate. " He need not hinder us from thinking ill 
of the whole peerage and baronetage if we like." 

When he entered, Mirah rose with the same 
look of grateful reverence that she had lifted to 
him the evening before : impossible to see a crea- 
ture freer at once from embarrassment and bold- 
ness. Her theatrical training had left no recog- 


nisable trace; probably her manners had not 
much changed since she played the forsaken child 
at nine years of age ; and she had grown up in her 
simplicity and truthfulness like a little flower- 
seed that absorbs the chance confusion of its 
surroundings into its own definite mould of beauty. 
Deronda felt that he was making acquaintance 
with something quite new to him in the form of 
womanhood. Tor Mirah was not childlike from 
ignorance : her experience of evil and trouble 
was deeper and stranger than his own. He felt 
inclined to watch her and listen to her as if sbe 
had come from a far-off shore inhabited by a race 
different from our own. 

But for that very reason he made his visit brief : 
with his usual activity of imagination as to how his 
conduct might affect others, he shrank from what 
might seem like curiosity, or the assumption of a 
right to know as much as he pleased of one to 
whom he had done a service. For example, he 
would have liked to hear her sing, but he would 
have felt the expression of such a wish to be a rude- 
ness in him — since she could not refuse, and he 
would all the while have a sense that she was 
being treated like one whose accomplishments 
were to be ready on demand. And whatever 
reverence could be shown to woman, he was bent 


on showing to this girl. Why 1 He gave himself 
several good reasons ; but whatever one does with 
a strong unhesitating outflow of will, has a store i 
of motive that it would be hard to put into } 
words. Some deeds seem little more than inter- 
jections which give vent to the long passion of 
a life. 

So Deronda soon took his farewell for the two 
months during which he expected to be absent 
from London, and in a few days he was on his way 
with Sir Hugo and Lady Mallinger to Leubronn. 

He had fulfilled his intention of telling them 
about Mirah. The baronet was decidedly of 
opinion that the search for the mother and brother 
had better be let alone. Lady Mallinger was 
much interested in the poor girl, observing that 
there was a Society for the Conversion of the 
Jews, and that it was to be hoped Mirah would 
embrace Christianity; but perceiving that Sir Hugo 
looked at her with amusement, she concluded that 
she had said something foolish. Lady Mallinger 
felt apologetically about herself as a woman who 
had produced nothing but daughters in a case 
where sons were required, and hence regarded the 
apparent contradictions of the world as probably 
due to the weakness of her own understanding. 
But when she was much puzzled, it was her habit 


to say to herself, "I will ask Daniel." Der- 
onda was altogether a convenience in the family; 
and Sir Hugo too, after intending to do the best 
for him, had begun to feel that the pleasantest 
result would be to have this substitute for a son 
always ready at his elbow. 

This was the history of Deronda, so far as he 
knew it, up to the time of that visit to Leubronn 
in which he saw Gwendolen Harleth at the gam- 



It is a common sentence that Knowledge is power ; but who hath duly 
considered or set forth the power of Ignorance ? Knowledge slowly builds 
up what Ignorance in an hour pulls down. Knowledge, through patient 
and frugal centuries, enlarges discovery and makes record of it ; Ignor- 
ance, wanting its day's dinner, lights a fire with the record, and gives a 
flavour to its one roast with the burnt souls of many generations. Know- 
ledge, instructing the sense, refining and multiplying needs, transforms 
Itself into skill and makes life various with a new six days' work ; comes 
Ignorance drunk on the seventh, with a firkin of oil and a match and an 
easy " Let th'ere not be " — and the many-coloured creation is shrivelled up 
in blackness. Of a truth, Knowledge is power, but it is a power reined by 
scruple, having a conscience of what must be and what may be ; whereas 
Ignorance is a blind giant who, let him but wax unbound, would make it a 
sport to seize the pillars that hold up the long-wrought fabric of human 
good, and turn all the places of joy dark as a buried Babylon. And looking 
at life parcel-wise, in the growth of a single lot, who having a practised 
nsion may not see that ignorance of the true bond between events, and false 
conceit of means whereby sequences may be compelled— like that falsity of 
eyesight which overlooks the gradations of distance, seeing that which is 
afar off as if it were within a step or a grasp— precipitates the mistaken 
Boul on destruction? 

It was half-past ten in the morning when Gwen- 
dolen Harleth, after her gloomy journey from 
Leubronn, arrived at the station from which she 
must drive to Offendene. No carriage or friend 
was awaiting her, for in the telegram she had 
sent from Dover she had mentioned a later train, 


and in her impatience of lingering at a London 
station she had set off without picturing what it 
would be to arrive unannounced at half an hour's 
drive from home — at one of those stations which 
have been fixed on not as near anywhere but 
as equidistant from everywhere. Deposited as a 
feme sole with her large trunks, and having to 
wait while a vehicle was being got from the large- 
sized lantern called the Eailway Inn, Gwendolen 
felt that the dirty paint in the waiting-room, the 
dusty decanter of flat water, and the texts in large 
letters calling on her to repent and be converted, 
were part of the dreary prospect opened by her 
family troubles; and she hurried away to the 
outer door looking towards the lane and fields. 
But here the very gleams of sunshine seemed 
melancholy, for the autumnal leaves and grass 
were shivering, and the wind was turning up the 
feathers of a cock and two croaking hens which 
had doubtless parted with their grown-up off- 
spring and did not know what to do with them- 
selves. The railway official also seemed without 
resources, and his innocent demeanour in observ- 
ing Gwendolen and her trunks was rendered 
intolerable by the cast in his eye ; especially 
since, being a new man, he did not know her, and 
must conclude that she was not very high in the 


world. The vehicle — a dirty old barouche — was 
within sight, and was being slowly prepared by 
an elderly labourer. Contemptible details these, 
to make part of a history ; yet the turn of most 
lives is hardly to be accounted for without them. 
They are continually entering with cumulative 
force into a mood until it gets the mass and 
momentum of a theory or a motive. Even phil- 
osophy is not quite free from such determining 
influences ; and to be dropt solitary at an ugly 
irrelevant-looking spot with a sense of no income 
on the mind, might well prompt a man to dis- 
couraging speculation on the origin of things and 
the reason of a world where a subtle thinker 
found himself so badly off. How much, more 
might such trifles tell on a young lady equipped 
for society with a fastidious taste, an Indian 
shawl over her arm, some ten cubic feet of trunks 
by her side, and a mortal dislike to the new 
consciousness of poverty whi(ih was stimulating 
her imagination of disagreeables? At any rate 
they told heavily on poor Gwendolen, and helped 
to quell her resistant spirit. What was the good 
of living in the midst of hardships, ugliness, and 
humiliation ? This was the beginning of being 
at home again, and it was a sample of what she 
had to expect. 


Here Tvas the theme on which her discontent 
rung its sad changes during her slow drive in the 
uneasy barouche, with one great trunk squeezing 
the meek driver, and the other fastened with a 
rope on the seat in front of her. Her ruling vision 
all the way from Leubronn had been that the 
family would go abroad again ; for of course there 
must be some little income left — her mamma did 
not mean that they would have literally nothing. 
To go to a dull place abroad and live poorly, was 
the dismal future that threatened her: she had 
seen plenty of poor English people abroad, and 
imagined herself plunged in the despised dulness of 
their ill-plenished lives, with Alice, Bertha, Fanny, 
and Isabel all growing up in tediousness around 
her, while she advanced towards thirty, and her 
mamma got more and more melancholy. But she 
did not mean to submit, and let misfortune do 
what it would with her : she had not yet quite 
believed in the misfortune ; but weariness, and 
disgust with this wretched arrival, had begun to 
affect her like an uncomfortable waking, worse 
than the uneasy dreams which had gone before. 
The self-delight with which she had kissed her 
image in the glass had faded before the sense of 
futility in being anything whatever — charming, 
clever, resolute — what was the good of it all? 


Events might turn out anyhow, and men were 
hateful. Yes, men were hateful. Those few words 
were filled out with very vivid memories. But in 
these last hours, a certain change had come over 
their meaning. It is one thing to hate stolen 
goods, and another thing to hate them the more 
because their being stolen hinders us from making 
use of them. Gwendolen had begun to be angry 
with Grandcourt for being what had hindered her 
from marrying him, angry with him as the cause 
of her present dreary lot. 

But the slow drive was nearly at an end, and 
the lumbering vehicle coming up the avenue was 
within sight of the windows. A figure appearing 
under the portico brought a rush of new and less 
selfish feeling in Gwendolen, and when springing 
from the carriage she saw the dear beautiful face 
with fresh lines of sadness in it, she threw her 
arms round her mother's neck, and for the moment 
felt all sorrows only in relation to her mother's 
feeling about them. 

Behind, of course, were the sad faces of the 
four superfluous girls, each, poor thing — like those 
other many thousand sisters of us all — ^having her 
peculiar world which was of no importance to any 
one else, but all of them feeling Gwendolen's 
presence to be somehow a relenting of misfortune : 



where Gwendolen was, something interesting 
would happen ; even her hurried submission to 
their kisses, and "Now go away, girls," carried 
the sort of comfort which all weakness finds in 
decision and authoritativeness. Good Miss Merry, 
whose air of meek depression, hitherto held un- 
accountable in a governess affectionately attached 
to the family, was now at the general level of cir- 
cumstances, did not expect any greeting, but 
busied herself with the trunks and the coach- 
man's pay; while Mrs Davilow and Gwendolen 
hastened up-stairs and shut themselves in the 
black and yellow bedroom. 

" Never mind, mamma dear," said Gwendolen, 
tenderly pressing her handkerchief against the 
tears that were rolling down Mrs Davilow's cheeks. 
" Never mind. I don't mind. I will do some- 
thing. I will be something. Things will come 
right. It seemed worse because I was away. 
Come now ! you must be glad because I am 

Gwendolen felt every word of that speech. A 
rush of compassionate tenderness stirred all her 
capability of generous resolution ; and the self- 
confident projects which had vaguely glanced 
before her during her journey sprang instan- 
taneously into new definiteness. Suddenly she 


seemed to perceive how she could be " something." 
It was one of her best moments, and the fond 
mother, forgetting everything below that tide- 
mark, looked at her with a sort of adoration. 
She said — ^ 

" Bless you, my good, good darling ! I can be 
happy, if you can ! " 

But later in the day there was an ebb ; the old 
slippery rocks, the old weedy places reappeared. 
Naturally, there was a shrinking of courage as 
misfortune ceased to be a mere announcement, 
and began to disclose itself as a grievous tyran- 
nical inmate. At first — that ugly drive at an end 
— it was still Offendene that Gwendolen had 
come home to, and all surroundings of immediate 
consequence to her were still there to secure her 
personal ease; the roomy stillness of the large 
solid house while she rested ; all the luxuries of 
her toilet cared for without trouble to her ; and 
a little tray with her favourite food brought to her 
in private. For she had said, "Keep them all 
away from us to-day, mamma. Let you and me 
be alone together." 

When Gwendolen came down into the drawing- 
room, fresh as a newly- dipped swan, and sat 
leaning against the cushions of the settee beside 
her mamma, their misfortune had not yet turned 


its face and breath upon her. She felt prepared 
to hear everything, and began in a tone of deli- 
berate intention : 

"What have you thought of doing exactly, 
mamma ? " 

" Oh my dear, the next thing to be done is to 
move away from this house. Mr Haynes most 
fortunately is as glad to have it now as he would 
have been when we took it. Lord Brackenshaw's 
agent is to arrange everything with him to the 
best advantage for us : Bazley, you know ; not 
at all an ill-natured man." 

"I cannot help thinking that Lord Bracken- 
shaw would let you stay here rent-free, mamma," 
said Gwendolen, whose talents had not been ap- 
plied to business so much as to discernment of 
the admiration excited by her charms. 

" My dear child, Lord Brackenshaw is in Scot- 
land, and knows nothing about us. Neither your 
uncle nor I would choose to apply to him. Be- 
sides, what could we do in this house without 
servants, and without money to warm it? The 
sooner we are out the better. We have nothing 
to carry but our clothes, you know." 

" I suppose you mean to go abroad, then ? " 
said Gwendolen. After all, this was what she 
had familiarised her mind with. 


" Oh no, dear, no. How could we travel ? You 
never did learn anything about income and ex- 
penses," said Mrs Davilow, trying to smile, and 
putting her hand on Gwendolen's as she added, 
mournfully, " that makes it so much harder for 
you, my pet." 

" But where are we to go ? " said Gwendolen, 
with a trace of sharpness in her tone. She felt a 
new current of fear passing through her. 

" It is all decided. A little furniture is to be 
got in from the rectory— all that can be spared." 
Mrs Davilow hesitated. She dreaded the reality 
for herself less than the shock she must give 
Gwendolen, who looked at her with tense expec- 
tancy, but was silent. 

" It is Sawyer's Cottage we are to go to." 

At first, Gwendolen remained silent, paling 
with anger — justifiable anger, in her opinion. 
Then she said with haughtiness — 

" That is impossible. Something else than that 
ought to have been thought of. My uncle ought 
not to allow that. I will not submit to it." 

" My sweet child, what else could have been 
thought of ? Your uncle, I am sure, is as kind as 
he can be ; but he is suffering himself : he has his 
family to bring up. And do you quite under- 
stand ? You must remember — we have nothing. 


We shall have absolutely nothing except what he 
and my sister give us. They have been as wise 
and active as possible, and we must try to earn 
something. I and the girls are going to work 
a table-cloth border for the Ladies' Charity at 
Wancester, and a communion cloth that the 
parishioners are to present to Pennicote Church." 

Mrs Davilow went into these details timidly ; 
but how else was she to bring the fact of their 
position home to this poor child who, alas ! must 
submit at present, whatever might be in the 
backgTound for her ? and she herself had a super- 
stition that there must be something better in the 

" But surely somewhere else than Sawyer's Cot- 
tage might have been found," Gwendolen per- 
sisted — taken hold of (as if in a nightmare) by the 
image of this house where an exciseman had lived. 

" No, indeed, dear. You know houses are scarce, 
and we may be thankful to get anything so pri- 
vate. It is not so very bad. There are two little 
parlours and four bedrooms. You shall sit alone 
whenever you like." 

The ebb of sympathetic care for her mamma 
had gone so low just now, that Gwendolen took 
no notice of these deprecatory words. 

"I cannot conceive that all your property is 


gone at once, mamma. How can you be sure in 
so short a time ? It is not a week since you 
wrote to me." 

" The first news came much earlier, dear. But 
I would not spoil your pleasure till it was quite 

"Oh how vexatious ! " said Gwendolen, colouring 
with fresh anger. " If I had known, I could have 
brought home the money I had won ; and for 
want of knowing, I stayed and lost it. I had 
nearly two hundred pounds, and it would have 
done for us to live on a little while, till I could 
carry out some plan." She paused an instant and 
then added more impetuously, "Everything has 
gone against me. People have come near me only 
to blight me." 

Among the " people " she was including Deron- 
da. If he had not interfered in her life she would 
have gone to the gaming-table again with a few 
napoleons, and might have won back her losses. 

" We must resign ourselves to the will of Pro- 
vidence, my child," said poor Mrs Davilow, startled 
by this revelation of the gambling, but not daring 
to say more. She felt sure that "people" meant 
Grandcourt, about whom her lips were sealed. 
And Gwendolen answered immediately — 

*' But I don't resign myself. I shall do what I 


can against it. What is the good of calling people's 
wickedness Providence ? You said in your letter 
it was Mr Lassmann's fault we had lost our money. 
Has he run away with it all ? " 

" No, dear, you don't understand. There were 
great speculations : he meant to gain. It was all 
about mines and things of that sort. He risked 
too much." 

" I don't call that Providence : it was his im- 
providence with our money, and he ought to be 
punished. Can't we go to law and recover our 
fortune ? My uncle ought to take measures, and not 
sit down by such wrongs. We ought to go to law." 

"My dear child, law can never bring back 
money lost in that way. Your uncle says it is 
milk spilt upon the ground. Besides, one must 
have a fortune to get any law : there is no law 
for people who are ruined. And our money has 
only gone along with other people's. We are not 
the only sufferers : others have to resign them- 
selves besides us." 

" But I don't resign myself to live at Sawyer's 
Cottage and see you working for sixpences and 
shillings because of that. I shall not do it. I 
shall do what is more befitting our rank and 

" I am sure your uncle and all of us will approve 


of that, dear, and admire you the more for it," 
said Mrs Davilow, glad of an unexpected opening 
for speaking on a difficult subject. " I didn't mean 
that you should resign yourself to worse when 
anjrthing better offered itself. Both your uncle and 
aunt have felt that your abilities and education 
were a fortune for you, and they have already 
heard of something within your reach." 

"What is that, mamma?" Some of Gwen- 
dolen's anger gave way to interest, and she was 
not without romantic conjectures. 

" There are two situations that offer themselves. 
One is in a bishop's family, where there are three 
daughters, and the other is in quite a high class 
of school ; and in both your French, and music, 
and dancing — and then your manners and habits 
as a lady, are exactly what is wanted. Each is a 
hundred a-year — and — just for the present " — Mrs 
Davilow had become frightened and hesitating — 
"to save you from the petty, common way of 
living that we must go to — you would perhaps 
accept one of the two." 

" What ! be like Miss Graves at Madame 
Meunier's ? No." 

" I think, myself, that Dr Mompert's would be 
more suitable. There could be no hardship in a 
bishop's family." 


** Excuse me, mamma. There are hardships 
everywhere for a governess. And I don't see 
that it would be pleasanter to be looked down 
on in a bishop's family than in any other. 
Besides, you know very well I hate teaching. 
Fancy me shut up with three awkward girls 
something like Alice ! I would rather emigrate 
than be a governess." 

What it precisely was to emigrate, Gwendolen 
was not called on to explain. Mrs Davilow was 
mute, seeing no outlet, and thinking with dread 
of the collision that might happen when Gwen- 
dolen had to meet her uncle and aunt. There 
was an air of reticence in Gwendolen's haughty 
resistant speeches, which implied that she had 
a definite plan in reserve; and her practical ig- 
norance, continually exhibited, could not nullify 
the mother's belief in the effectiveness of that 
forcible will and daring which had held the 
mastery over herself. 

" I have some ornaments, mamma, and I could 
sell them," said Gwendolen. " They would make 
a sum : I want a little sum — just to go on with. 
I dare say Marshall at Wancester would take 
them : I know he showed me some bracelets once 
that he said he had bought from a lady. Jocosa 
might go and ask him. Jocosa is going to leave 
us, of course. But she might do that first." 


" She would do anything she could, poor dear 
souL I have not told you yet — she wanted me to 
take all her savings — her three hundred pounds. 
I tell her to set up a little school. It will be 
hard for her to go into a new family now she has 
been so long with us." 

"Oh, recommend her for the bishop's daughters/* 
said Gwendolen, with a sudden gleam of laughter 
in her face. " I am sure she will do better than I 

" Do take care not to say such things to your 
uncle," said Mrs Davilow. " He will be hurt at 
your despising what he has exerted himself about. 
But I daresay you have something else in your 
mind that he might not disapprove, if you con- 
sulted him." 

" There is some one else I want to consult first. 
Are the Arrowpoints at Quetcham still, and is 
Herr Klesmer there? But I daresay you know 
nothing about it, poor dear mamma. Can Jeffries 
go on horseback with a note ? " 

"Oh, my dear, Jeffries is not here, and the 
dealer has taken the horses. But some one could 
go for us from Leek's farm. The Arrowpoints are 
at Quetcham, I know. Miss Arrowpoint left her 
card the other day . I could not see her. But I 
don't know about Herr Klesmer. Do you want 
to send before to-morrow ? " 


"Yes, as soon as possible. I will write a 
note," said Gwendolen, rising. 

"What can you be thinking of, Gwen?" said 
Mrs Davilow, relieved in the midst of her won- 
derment by signs of alacrity and better humour. 

" Don't mind what, there's a dear good mamma," 
said Gwendolen, reseating herself a moment to 
give atoning caresses. " I mean to do something. 
Never mind what, until it is all settled. And 
then you shall be comforted. The dear face ! — 
it is ten years older in these three weeks. Now, 
now, now! don't cry" — Gwendolen, holding her 
mamma's head with both hands, kissed the trem- 
bling eyelids. " But mind you don't contradict me 
or put hindrances in my way. I must decide for 
myself. I cannot be dictated to by my uncle or 
any one else. My life is my own affair. And I 
think " — here her tone took an edge of scorn — " I 
think I can do better for you than let you live in 
Sawyer's Cottage." 

In uttering this last sentence Gwendolen again 
rose, and went to a desk where she wrote the fol- 
lowing note to Klesmer : — 

"Miss Harleth presents her compliments to 
Herr Klesmer and ventures to request of him 
the very great favour that he will call upon her. 


if possible to-morrow. Her reason for presuming 
so far on his kindness is of a very serious nature. 
Unfortunate family circumstances have obliged 
her to take a course in which she can only turn 
for advice to the great knowledge and judgment 
of Herr Klesmer." 

"Pray get this sent to Quetcham at once, 
mamma," said Gwendolen, as she addressed the 
letter. "The man must be told to wait for an 
answer. Let no time be lost." 

For the moment, the absorbing purpose was to 
get the letter despatched ; but when she had been 
assured on this point, another anxiety arose and 
kept her in a state of uneasy excitement. If 
Klesmer happened not to be at Quetcham, what 
could she do next? Gwendolen's belief in her 
star, so to speak, had had some bruises. Things 
had gone against her. A splendid marriage which 
presented itself within reach had shown a hideous 
flaw. The chances of roulette had not adjusted 
themselves to her claims; and a man of whom 
she knew nothing had thrust himself between her 
and her intentions. The conduct of those unin- 
teresting people who managed the business of 
the world had been culpable just in the points 
most injurious to her in particular. Gwendolen 


Harleth, with all her beauty and conscious force, 
felt the close threats of humiliation : for the first 
time the conditions of this world seemed to her 
like a hurrying roaring crowd in which she had 
got astray, no more cared for and protected than 
a myriad of other girls, in spite of its being a 
peculiar hardship to her. If Klesmer were not at 
Quetcham — that would be all of a piece with the 
rest: the unwelcome negative urged itself as a 
probability, and set her brain working at des- 
perate alternatives which might deKver her from 
Sawyer's Cottage or the ultimate necessity of " tak- 
ing a situation," a phrase that summed up for her 
the disagreeables most wounding to her pride, 
most irksome" to her tastes ; at least so far as her 
experience enabled her to imagine disagreeables. 

Still Klesmer might be there, and Gwendolen 
thought of the result in that case with a hopeful- 
ness which even cast a satisfactory light over her 
peculiar troubles, as what might well enter into the 
biography of celebrities and remarkable persons. 
And if she had heard her immediate acquain- 
tances cross-examined as to whether they thought 
her remarkable, the first who said " No " would 
have surprised her. 



We please our fency with ideal webs 
Of innovation, but our life meanwhile 
Is in the loom, where busy passion plies 
The shuttle to and fro, and gives our deeds 
The accustomed pattern. 

Gwendolen's note, coming " pat betwixt too early 
and too late," was put into Klesmer's hands just 
when he was leaving Quetcham, and in order to 
meet her appeal to his kindness he with some in- 
convenience to himself spent the night at Wan- 
cester. There were reasons why he would not 
remain at Quetcham. 

That magnificent mansion, fitted with regard to 
the greatest expense, had in fact become too hot 
for him, its owners having, like some great poli- 
ticians, been astonished at an insurrection against 
the established order of things, which we plain 
people after the event can perceive to have been 
prepared under their very noses. 

There were as usual many guests in the house, 


and among them one in whom Miss Arrowpoint 
foresaw a new pretender to her hand : a political 
man of good family who confidently expected a 
peerage, and felt on public grounds that he re- 
quired a larger fortune to support the title pro- 
perly. Heiresses vary, and persons interested in 
one of them beforehand are prepared to find that 
she is too yellow or too red, tall and toppling or 
short and square, violent and capricious or moony 
and insipid; but in every case it is taken for 
granted that she will consider herself an append- 
age to her fortune, and marry where others think 
her fortune ought to go. Nature, however, not 
only accommodates herself ill to our favourite 
practices by making "only children" daughters, but 
also now and then endows the misplaced daughter 
with a clear head and a strong will. The Arrow- 
points had already felt some anxiety owing to 
these endowments of their Catherine. She would 
not accept the view of her social duty which re- 
quired her to marry a needy nobleman or a com- 
moner on the ladder towards nobility ; and they 
were not without uneasiness concerning her per- 
sistence in declining suitable off'ers. As to the 
possibility of her being in love with Klesmer they 
were not at all uneasy — a very common sort of 
blindness. For in general mortals have a great 


power of being astonished at the presence of an 
effect towards which they have done everything, 
and at the absence of an effect towards which 
they have done nothing but desire it. Parents 
are astonished at the ignorance of their sons, 
though they have used the most time-honoured 
and expensive means of securing it; husbands 
and wives are mutually astonished at the loss of 
affection which they have taken no pains to keep ; 
and all of us in our turn are apt to be astonished 
that our neighbours do not admire us. In this 
way it happens that the truth seems highly im- 
probable. The truth is something different from 
the habitual lazy combinations begotten by our 
wishes. The Arrowpoints' hour of astonishment 
was come. 

When there is a passion between an heiress 
and a proud independent-spirited man, it is diffi- 
cult for them to come to an understanding ; but 
the difficulties are likely to be overcome unless 
the proud man secures himself by a constant 
alibi. Brief meetings after studied absence are 
potent in disclosure : but more potent still is fre- 
quent companionship, with full sympathy in taste, 
and admirable qualities on both sides ; especially 
where the one is in the position of teacher and 
the other is delightedly conscious of receptive 



ability which also gives the teacher delight. The 
situation is famous in history, and has no less 
charm now than it had in the days of Abelard. 

But this kind of comparison had not occurred 
to the Arrowpoints when they first engaged Kles- 
mer to come down to Quetcham. To have a first- 
rate musician in your house is a privilege of 
wealth ; Catherine's musical talent demanded 
every advantage ; and she particularly desired to 
use her quieter time in the country for more thor- 
ough study. Klesmer was not yet a Liszt, under- 
stood to be adored by ladies of all European 
countries with the exception of Lapland : and 
even with that understanding it did not follow 
that he would make proposals to an heiress. No 
musician of honour would do so. Still less was 
it conceivable that Catherine would give him the 
slightest pretext for such daring. The large 
cheque that Mr Arrowpoint was to draw in 
Klesmer's name seemed to make him as safe an 
inmate as a footman. Where marriage is incon- 
ceivable, a girl's sentiments are safe. 

Klesmer was eminently a man of honour, but 
marriages rarely begin with formal proposals, and 
moreover, Catherine's limit of the conceivable did 
not exactly correspond with her mother's. 

Outsiders might have been more apt to think 


that Klesmer's position was dangerous for himself 
if Miss Arrowpoint had been an acknowledged 
beauty; not taking into account that the most . 
powerful of all beauty is that which reveals itself \ 
after sympathy and not before it. There is a V 
charm of eye and lip which comes with every ^ 
little phrase that certifies delicate perception or / 
fine judgment, with every unostentatious word or r 
smile that shows a heart awake to others ; and no 
sweep of garment or turn of figure is more satis- 
fying than that which enters as a restoration of 
confidence that one person is present on whom no \ 
intention will be lost. What dignity of meaning 
goes on gathering in frowns and laughs which are 
never observed in the wrong place ; what suf- 
fused adorableness in a human frame where there 
is a mind that can flash out comprehension and 
hands that can execute finely ! The more obvious 
beauty, also adorable sometimes — one may say it 
without blasphemy — begins by being an apology 
for folly, and ends like other apologies in becoming 
tiresome by iteration ; and that Klesmer, though 
very susceptible to it, should have a passionate at- 1 
tachment to Miss Arrowpoint, was no more a para- 
dox than any other triumph of a manifold sympathy 
over a monotonous attraction. We object less to 
be taxed with the enslaving excess of our passions 


than with our deficiency in wider passion ; but if 
the truth were known, our reputed intensity is 
often the dulness of not knowing what else to do 
with ourselves. Tannhauser, one suspects, was a 
knight of ill-furnished imagination, hardly of larger 
discourse than a heavy Guardsman ; Merlin had 
certainly seen his best days, and was merely re- 
peating himself, when he fell into that hopeless 
captivity ; and we know that Ulysses felt so mani- 
fest an ennui under similar circumstances that 
Calypso herself furthered his departure. There is 
indeed a report that he afterwards left Penelope ; 
but since she was habitually absorbed in worsted 
work, and it was probably from her that Tele- 
machus got his mean, pettifogging disposition, 
always anxious about the property and the daily 
consumption of meat, no inference can be drawn 
from this already dubious scandal as to the rela- 
tion between companionship and constancy. 

Klesmer was as versatile and fascinating as a 
young Ulysses on a sufficient acquaintance — one 
whom nature seemed to have first made generously 
and then to have added music as a dominant 
power using all the abundant rest, and, as in 
Mendelssohn, finding expression for itself 'not 
only in the highest finish of execution, but in 
that fervour of creative work and theoretic belief 


which pierces the whole future of a life with the 
light of congruous, devoted purpose. His foibles 
of arrogance and vanity did not exceed such as 
may be found in the best English families ; and 
Catherine Arrowpoint had no corresponding rest- 
lessness to clash with his: notwithstanding her 
native kindliness she was perhaps too coolly firm 
and self-sustained. But she was one of those 
satisfactory creatures whose intercourse has the 
charm of discovery ; whose integrity of faculty 
and expression begets a wish to know what they 
will say on all subjects, or how they will perform 
whatever they undertake ; so that they end by 
raising not only a continual expectation but a con- 
tinual sense of fulfilment — the systole and diastole 
of blissful companionship. In such cases the 
outward presentment easily becomes what the 
image is to the worshipper. It was not long be- 
fore the two became aware that each was interest- 
ing to the other ; but the ' how far ' remained a 
matter of doubt. Klesmer did not conceive that 
Miss Arrowpoint was likely to think of him as a 
possible lover, and she was not accustomed to 
think of herself as likely to stir more than a 
friendly regard, or to fear the expression of more 
from any man who was not enamoured of her 
fortune. Each was content to suffer some un- 


shared sense of denial for the sake of loving the 
other's society a little too well ; and under these 
conditions no need had been felt to restrict 
Klesmer's visits for the last year either in country 
or in town. He knew very well that if Miss 
Arrowpoint had been poor he would have made 
ardent love to her instead of sending a storm 
through the piano, or folding his arms and pour- 
ing out a hyperbolical tirade about something as 
impersonal as the north pole ; and she was not 
less aware that if it had been possible for Klesmer 
to wish for her hand she would have found over- 
mastering reasons for giving it to him. Here was 
the safety of full cups, which are as secure from 
overflow as the half-empty, always supposing no 
disturbance. Naturally, silent feeling had not 
remained at the same point any more than the 
stealthy dial-hand, and in the present visit to 
Quetcham, Klesmer had begun to think that he 
would not come again ; while Catherine was more 
sensitive to his frequent hrusqueriej which she 
rather resented as a needless effort to assert his 
footing of superior in every sense except the con- 

Meanwhile enters the expectant peer, Mr Bult, 
an esteemed party man who, rather neutral in 
private life, had strong opinions concerning the 


districts of the Niger, was much at home also in the 
Brazils, spoke with decision of affairs in the South 
Seas, was studious of his parliamentary and itin- 
erant speeches, and had the general solidity and 
suffusive pinkness of a healthy Briton on the 
central table-land of life. Catherine, aware of a 
tacit understanding that he was an undeniable 
husband for an heiress, had nothing to say against 
him but that he was thoroughly tiresome to her. 
Mr Bult was amiably confident, and had no idea 
that his insensibility to counterpoint could ever 
be reckoned against him. Klesmer he hardly 
regarded in the light of a serious human being 
who ought to have a vote ; and he did not mind 
Miss Arrowpoint's addiction to music any more 
than her probable expenses in antique lace. He 
was consequently a little amazed at an after- 
dinner outburst of Klesmer's on the lack of ideal- 
ism in English politics, which left all mutuality 
between distant races to be determined simply by 
the need of a market : the crusades, to his mind, 
had at least this excuse, that they had a banner of 
sentiment round which generous feelings could 
rally : of course, the scoundrels rallied too, but 
what then ? they rally in equal force round your 
advertisement van of "Buy cheap, sell dear." 
On this theme Klesmer's eloquence, gesticulatory 


and other, went on for a little while like stray 
fireworks accidentally ignited, and then sank into 
immovable silence. Mr Bult was not surprised 
that Klesmer's opinions should be flighty, but was 
astonished at his command of English idiom and 
his ability to put a point in a way that would 
have told at a constituents' dinner — to be ac- 
counted for probably by his being a Pole, or a 
Czech, or something of that fermenting sort, in a 
state of political refugeeism which had obliged 
him to make a profession of his music ; and that 
evening in the drawing-room he for the first time 
went up to Klesmer at the piano. Miss Arrow- 
;point being near, and said — 

" I had no idea before that you were a political 

Klesmer's only answer was to fold his arms, 
put out his nether lip, and stare at Mr Bult. 

" You must have been used to public speaking. 
You speak uncommonly well, though I don't 
agree with you. From what you said about sen- 
timent, I fancy you are a Panslavist." 

"No; my name is Elijah. I am the Wander- 
ing Jew," said Klesmer, flashing a smile at Miss 
Arrowpoint, and suddenly making a mysterious 
wind-like rush backwards and forwards on the 
piano. Mr Bult felt this buffoonery rather of- 


fensive and Polish, but— Miss Arrowpoint being 
there — did not like to move away. 

"Herr Klesmer has cosmopolitan ideas," said 
Miss Arrowpoint, trying to make the best of 
the situation. "He looks forward to a fusion 
of races." 

" With all my heart," said Mr Bult, willing to 
be gracious. " I was sure he had too much talent 
to be a mere musician." 

" Ah, sir, you are under some mistake there," 
said Klesmer, firing up. " No man has too much 
talent to be a musician. Most men have too 
little. A creative artist is no more a mere musi- 
cian than a great statesman is a mere politician. 
We are not ingenious puppets, sir, who live in a 
box and look out on the world only when it is 
gaping for amusement. We help to rule the na- 
tions and make the age as much as any other pub- 
lic men. We count ourselves on level benches 
with legislators. And a man who speaks effec- 
tively through music is compelled to something 
more difficult than parliamentary eloquence." 

With the last word Klesmer wheeled from the 
piano and walked away. 

Miss Arrowpoint coloured, and Mr Bult ob- 
served with his usual phlegmatic solidity, " Your 
pianist does not think small beer of himself." 


"Herr Klesmer is something more than a 
pianist," said Miss Arrowpoint, apologetically. 
"He is a great musician in the fullest sense of 
the .word. He will rank with Schubert and 

" Ah, you ladies understand these things," said 
Mr Bult, none the less convinced that these things 
were frivolous because Klesmer had shown him- 
self a coxcomb. 

Catherine, always sorry when Klesmer gave 
himself airs, found an opportunity the next day 
in the music -room to say, "Why were you so 
heated last night with Mr Bult ? He meant no 

" You wish me to be complaisant to him ? " said 
Klesmer, rather fiercely. 

" I think it is hardly worth your while to be 
other than civil." 

" You find no difficulty in tolerating him, then ? 
— you have a respect for a political platitudinarian 
as insensible as an ox to everything he can't turn 
into political capital. You think his monumental 
obtuseness suited to the dignity of the English 

" I did not say that." 

" You mean that I acted without dignity and 
you are offended with me." 


" Now you are slightly nearer the truth," said 
Catherine, smiling. 

"Then I had better put my burial-clothes in 
my portmanteau and set off at once." 

" I don't see that. If I have to bear your 
criticism of my operetta, you should not mind 
my criticism of your impatience." 

" But I do mind it. You would have wished 
me to take his ignorant impertinence about a 
'mere musician' without letting him know his 
place. I am to hear my gods blasphemed as well 
as myself insulted. But I beg pardon. It is 
impossible you should see the matter as I do. 
Even you can't understand the wrath of the artist : 
he is of another caste for you." 

"That is true," said Catherine, with some 
betrayal of feeling. " He is of a caste to which I 
look up — a caste above mine." 

Klesmer, who had been seated at a table look- 
ing over scores, started up and walked to a little 
distance, from which he said — 

'* That is finely felt — I am grateful. But I had 
better go, all the same. I have made up my 
mind to go, for good and aU. You can get on 
exceedingly well without me : your operetta is on 
wheels — it will go of itself. And your Mr Bult's 
company fits me ' wie die Faust ins Auge«' I am 


neglecting my engagements. I must go off to St 

There was no answer. 

" You agree with me that I had better go V said 
Klesmer, with some irritation. 

"Certainly; if that is what your business and 
feeling prompt. I have only to wonder that you 
have consented to give us so much of your time 
in the last year. There must be treble the interest 
to you anywhere else. I have never thought of 
your consenting to come here as anything else 
than a sacrifice." 

" Why should I make the sacrifice ?" said Kles- 
mer, going to seat himself at the piano, and touch- 
ing the keys so as to give with the delicacy of an 
echo in the far distance a melody which he had 
set to Heine's " Ich hab' dich geliebet und liebe 
dich noch." 

"That is the mystery," said Catherine, not 
wanting to affect anything, but from mere agita- 
tion. From the same cause she was tearing a 
piece of paper into minute morsels, as if at a task 
of utmost multiplication imposed by a cruel fairy. 

" You can conceive no motive ? " said Klesmer, 
folding his arms. 

" None that seems in the least probable." 

*' Then I shall tell you. It is because you are 


to me the chief woman in the world — the throned 
lady whose colours I carry between my heart and 
my armour." 

Catherine's hands trembled so much that she 
could no longer tear the paper : still less could 
her lips utter a word. Klesmer went on — 

" This would be the last impertinence in me, if 
I meant to found anything upon it. That is out 
of the question. I mean no such thing. But you 
once said it was your doom to suspect every man 
who courted you of being an adventurer, and 
what made you angriest was men's imputing to 
you the folly of believing that they courted you 
for your own sake. Did you not say so ? " 

" Very likely," was the answer, in a low murmur. 

" It was a bitter word. Well, at least one man 
who has seen women as plenty as flowers in May 
has lingered about you for your own sake. And 
since he is one whom you can never marry, you 
will believe him. That is an argument in favour 
of some other man. But don't give yourself for 
a meal to a minotaur like Bult. I shall go now 
and pack. I shall make my excuses to Mrs 
Arrowpoint." Klesmer rose as he ended, and 
walked quickly towards the door. 

" You must take this heap of manuscript, then," 
said Catherine, suddenly making a desperate 


effort. She had risen to fetch the heap from 
another table. Klesmer came back, and they had 
the length of the folio sheets between them. 

a Why should I not marry the man who loves 
me, if I love him ? " said Catherine. To her the 
effort was something like the leap of a woman 
from the deck into the lifeboat. 

" It would be too hard — impossible — you could 
not carry it through. I am not worth what you 
would have to encounter. I will not accept the 
sacrifice. It would be thought a mesalliance for 
you, and I should be liable to the worst accu- 

" Is it the accusations you are afraid of? I am 
afraid of nothing but that we should miss the 
passing of our lives together." 

The decisive word had been spoken : there was 
no doubt concerning the end willed by each : 
there only remained the way of arriving at it, and 
Catherine determined to take the straightest pos- 
sible. She went to her father and mother in the 
library, and told them that she had promised to 
marry Klesmer. 

Mrs Arrowpoint's state of mind was pitiable. 
Imagine Jean Jacques, after his essay on the cor- 
rupting influence of the arts, waking up among 
children of nature who had no idea of grilling the 


raw bone they offered him for breakfast with the 
primitive convert of a flint ; or Saint Just, after 
fervidly denouncing all recognition of pre-emi- 
nence, receiving a vote of thanks for the unbroken 
mediocrity of his speech, which warranted the 
dullest patriots in delivering themselves at equal 
length. Something of the same sort befell the 
authoress of 'Tasso,* when what she had safely 
demanded of the dead Leonora was enacted by 
her own Catherine. It is hard for us to live up 
to our own eloquence, and keep pace with our 
winged words, while we are treading the solid 
earth and are liable to heavy dining. Besides, it 
has long been understood that the proprieties of 
literature are not those of practical life. Mrs 
Arrowpoint naturally wished for the best of every- 
thing. She not only liked to feel herself at a 
higher level of literary sentiment than the ladies 
with whom she associated ; she wished not to be 
below them in any point of social consideration. 
While Klesmer was seen in the light of a patron- 
ised musician, his peculiarities were picturesque 
and acceptable ; but to see him by a sudden flash 
in the light of her son-in-law gave her a burning 
sense of what the world would say. And the poor 
lady had been used to represent her Catherine as 
a model of excellence. 


Under the first shock she forgot everything but 
her anger, and snatched at any phrase that would 
serve as a weapon. 

" If Klesmer has presumed to offer himself to 
you, your father shall horsewhip him off the 
premises. Pray, speak, Mr Arrowpoint." 

The father took his cigar from his mouth, and 
rose to the occasion by saying, " This will never 
do, Cath." 

" Do ! " cried Mrs Arrowpoint ; " who in their 
senses ever thought it would do ? You might as 
well say poisoning and strangling will not do. It 
is a comedy you have got up, Catherine. Else 
you are mad." 

"I am quite sane and serious, mamma, and 
Herr Klesmer is not to blame. He never thought 
of my marrying him. I found out that he loved 
me, and loving him, I told him I would marry 

" Leave that unsaid, Catherine," said Mrs Arrow- 
point, bitterly. " Every one else will say it for 
you. You will be a public fable. Every one will 
say that you must have made the offer to a man 
who has been paid to come to the house — who is 
nobody knows what — a gypsy, a Jew, a mere 
bubble of the earth." 

" Never mind, mamma," said Catherine, indig- 


nant in her turn. " We all know he is a genius 
— as Tasso was." 

" Those times were not these, nor is Klesmer 
Tasso," said Mrs Arrowpoint, getting more heated. 
"There is no sting in that sarcasm, except the 
sting of undutifulness." 

" I am sorry to hurt you, mamma. But I will 
not give up the happiness of my life to ideas that 
I don't believe in and customs I have no respect 

" You have lost all sense of duty, then ? You 
have forgotten that you are our only child — that 
it lies with you to place a great property in the 
right hands ? " 

" What are the right hands ? My grandfather 
gained the property in trade." 

" Mr Arrowpoint, will you sit by and hear this 
without speaking ? " 

" I am a gentleman, Cath. We expect you to 
marry a gentleman," said the father, exerting 

"And a man connected with the institutions of 
this country," said the mother. "A woman in 
your position has serious duties. Where duty and 
inclination clash, she must follow duty." 

" I don't deny that," said Catherine, getting 
colder in proportion to her mother's heat. " But 



one may say very true things and apply them 
falsely. People can easily take the sacred word 
duty as a name for what they desire any one else 
to do." 

" Your parent's desire makes no duty for you, 

" Yes, within reason. But before I give up the 
happiness of my life " 

" Catherine, Catherine, it will not be your hap- 
piness/' said Mrs Arrowpoint, in her most raven- 
like tones. 

" Well, what seems to me my happiness — ^before 
I give it up, I must see some better reason than 
the wish that I should marry a nobleman, or a 
man who votes with a party that he may be 
turned into a nobleman. I feel at liberty to marry 
the man I love and think worthy, unless some 
higher duty forbids." 

" And so it does, Catherine, though you are 
blinded and cannot see it. It is a woman's duty 
not to lower herself You are lowering yourself 
Mr Arrowpoint, will you tell your daughter what 
is her duty?" 

" You must see, Catherine, that Klesmer is not 
the man for you," said Mr Arrowpoint. " He 
won't do at the head of estates. He has a deuced 
foreign look — is an unpractical maa" 


" I really can't see what that has to do with it, 
papa. The land of England has often passed into 
the hands of foreigners — Dutch soldiers, sons of 
foreign women of bad character: — if our land were 
sold to-morrow it would very likely pass into the 
hands of some foreign merchant on 'Change. It 
is in everybody's mouth that successful swindlers 
may buy up half the land in the country. How 
can I stem that tide ? " 

"It will never do to argue about marriage, 
Cath," said Mr Arrowpoint. " It's no use getting 
up the subject like a parliamentary question. We 
must do as other people do. We must think of 
the nation and the public good." 

"I can't see any public good concerned here, 
papa," said Catherine. " Why is it to be expected 
of an heiress that she should carry the property 
gained in trade into the hands of a certain class ? 
That seems to me a ridiculous mish-mash of 
superannuated customs and false ambition. I 
should call it a public evil People had better 
make a new sort of public good by changing their 

" That is mere sophistry, Catherine," said Mrs 
Arrowpoint. " Because you don't wish to marry 
a nobleman, you are not obliged to marry a mount- 
ebank or a charlatan." 


" I cannot understand the application of such 
words, mamma." 

" No, I daresay not," rejoined Mrs Arrowpoint, 
with significant scorn. " You have got to a pitch 
at which we are not likely to understand each 

" It can't be done, Cath," said Mr Arrowpoint, 
wishing to substitute a better-humoured reasoning 
for his wife's impetuosity. " A man like Klesmer 
can't marry such a property as yours. It can't 
be done." 

"It certainly will not be done," said Mrs 
Arrowpoint, imperiously. "Where is the man? 
Let him be fetched." 

" I cannot fetch him to be insulted," said 
Catherine. " Nothing will be achieved by that." 

" I suppose you would wish him to know that 
in marrying you he will not marry your fortune," 
said Mrs Arrowpoint. 

"'Certainly; if it were so, I should wish him 
to know it." 

" Then you had better fetch him." 

Catherine only went into the music-room and 
said, " Come : " she felt no need to prepare 

" Herr Klesmer," said Mrs Arrowpoint, with a 
rather contemptuous stateliness, " it is unnecessary 


to repeat what has passed between us and our 
daughter. Mr Arrowpoint will tell you our 

" Your marrying is quite out of the question/' 
said Mr Arrowpoint, rather too heavily weighted 
with his task, and standing in an embarrassment 
unrelieved by a cigar. " It is a wild scheme al- 
together. A man has been called out for less." 

" You have taken a base advantage of our con- 
fidence," burst in Mrs Arrowpoint, unable to carry 
out her purpose and leave the burthen of speech 
to her husband. 

Klesmer made a low bow in silent irony. 

" The pretension is ridiculous. You had better 
give it up and leave the house at once," continued 
Mr Arrowpoint. He wished to do without men- 
tioning the money. 

"I can give up nothing without reference to 
your daughter's wish," said Klesmer. "My en- 
gagement is to her." 

" It is useless to discuss the question," said Mrs 
Arrowpoint. "We shall never consent to the 
marriage. If Catherine disobeys us we shaU dis- 
inherit her. You will not marry her fortune. It 
is right you should know that." 

" Madam, her fortune has been the only thing 
I have had to regret about her. But I must ask 


her if she will not think the sacrifice greater than 
I am worthy of." 

" It is no sacrifice to me," said Catherine, " ex- 
cept that I am sorry to hurt my father and mother. 
I have always felt my fortune to be a wretched 
fatality of my life." 

" You mean to defy us, then ? " said Mrs Arrow- 

" I mean to marry Herr Klesmer," said Catherine, 

"He had better not count on our relenting," 
said Mrs Arrowpoint, whose manners suffered 
from that impunity in insult which has been 
reckoned among the privileges of women. 

" Madam," said Klesmer, " certain reasons for- 
bid me to retort. But understand that I consider 
it out of the power either of you or of your for- 
tune to confer on me anything that I value. My 
rank as an artist is of my own winning, and I 
would not exchange it for any other. I am able 
to maintain your daughter, and I ask for no change 
in my life but her companionship." 

" You will leave the house, however," said Mrs 

" I go at once," said Klesmer, bowing and quit- 
ting the room. 

" Let there be no misunderstanding, mamma," 


said Catherine ; " I consider myself engaged to 
Herr Klesmer, and I intend to marry him." 

The mother turned her head away and waved 
her hand in sign of dismissal. 

" It's all very fine," said Mr Arrowpoint, when 
Catherine was gone ; " but what the deuce are we 
to do with the property ? " 

"There is Harry Brendall. He can take the 

" Harry Brendall will get through it all in no 
time," said Mr Arrowpoint, relighting his cigar. 

And thus, with nothing settled but the deter- 
mination of the lovers, Klesmer had left Quetcham. 



Among the heirs of Art, as at the division of the promised land, each has 
to win his portion by hard fighting : the bestowal is after the manner of 
prophecy, and is a title without possession. To carry the map of an un- 
gotten estate in your pocket is a poor sort of copyhold. And in fancy to 
cast his shoe over Edon is little warrant that a man shall ever set the sole 
of his foot on an acre of his own there. 

The most obstinate beliefs that mortals entertain about themselves are 
such as they have no evidence for beyond a constant, spontaneous pulsing 
of their self-satisfaction— as it were a hidden seed of madness, a confidence 
that they can move the world without precise notion of standing-place or 

"Pray go to church, mamma," said Gwendolen 
the next morning. " I prefer seeing Herr Klesmer 
alone." (He had written in reply to her note 
that he would be with her at eleven.) 

"That is hardly correct, I think," said Mrs 
Davilow, anxiously. 

*' Our affairs are too serious for us to think of 
such nonsensical rules," said Gwendolen, con- 
temptuously. "They are insulting as well as 


" You would not mind Isabel sitting with you ? 
She would be reading in a corner." 

"No, she could not: she would bite her nails 
and stare. It would be too irritating. Trust my 
judgment, mamma. I must be alone. Take them 
all to church." 

Gwendolen had her way, of course ; only that 
Miss Merry and two of the girls stayed at home, to 
give the house a look of habitation by sitting at 
the dining-room windows. 

It was a delicious Sunday morning. The melan- 
choly waning sunshine of autumn rested on the 
leaf-strown grass and came mildly through the 
windows in slanting bands of brightness over the 
old furniture, and the glass panel that reflected 
the furniture ; over the tapestried chairs with their 
faded flower- wreaths, the dark enigmatic pictures, 
the superannuated organ at which Gwendolen had 
pleased herself with acting Saint Cecilia on her 
first joyous arrival, the crowd of pallid, dusty knick- 
knacks seen through the open doors of the ante- 
chamber where she had achieved the wearing of 
her Greek dress as Hermione. This last memory 
was just now very busy in her; for had not Klesmer 
then been struck with admiration of her pose and 
expression? Whatever he had said, whatever she 
imagined him to have thought, was at this moment 


pointed with keenest interest for her : perhaps 
she had never before in her life felt so inwardly 
dependent, so consciously in need of another per- 
son's opinion. There was a new fluttering of 
spirit within her, a new element of deliberation in 
her self-estimate which had hitherto been a bliss- 
ful gift of intuition. Still it was the recurrent 
burthen of her inward soliloquy that Klesmer 
had seen but little of her, and any unfavourable 
conclusion of his must have too narrow a founda- 
tion. She really felt clever enough for anything. 
To fill up the time she collected her volumes 
and pieces of music, and laying them on the top 
of the piano, set herself to classify them. Then 
catching the reflection of her movements in the 
glass panel, she was diverted to the contemplation 
of the image there and walked towards it. Dressed 
in black without a single ornament, and with the 
warm whiteness of her skin set off between her 
light-brown coronet of hair and her square-cut 
bodice, she might have tempted an artist to try 
again the Eoman trick of a statue in black, white, 
and tawny marble. Seeing her image slowly ad- 
vancing, she thought, " I am beautiful " — not ex- 
ultingly, but with grave decision. Being beauti- 
ful was after all the condition on which she most 
needed external testimony. If any one objected 


to the turn of her nose or the form of her neck 
and chin, she had not the sense that she could 
presently show her power of attainment in these 
branches of feminine perfection. 

There was not much time to fill up in this way 
before the sound of wheels, the loud ring, and the 
opening doors, assured her that she was not by any 
accident to be disappointed. This slightly increased 
her inward flutter. In spite of her self-confidence, 
she dreaded Klesmer as part of that unmanageable 
world which was independent of her wishes — 
something vitriolic that would not cease to burn 
because you smiled or frowned at it. Poor thing ! 
she was at a higher crisis of her woman's fate 
than in her past experience with Grandcourt. 
The questioning then, was whether she should 
take a particular man as a husband. The inmost 
fold of her questioning now, was whether she need 
take a husband at all-^whether she could not 
achieve substantiality for herself and know grati- 
fied ambition without bondage. 

Klesmer made his most deferential bow in the 
wide doorway of the ante-chamber — showing also 
the deference of the finest grey kerseymere trousers 
and perfect gloves (the 'masters of those who 
know ' are happily altogether human). Gwendolen 
met him with unusual gravity, and holding out her 


hand, said, " It is most kind of you to come, Herr 
IQesmer. I hope you have not thought me pre- 

" I took your wish as a command that did me 
honour," said Klesmer, with answering gravity. 
He was really putting by his own affairs in order 
to give his utmost attention to what Gwendolen 
might have to say ; but his temperament was 
still in a state of excitation from the events of 
yesterday, likely enough to give his expressions a 
more than usually biting edge. 

Gwendolen for once was under too great a strain 
of feeling to remember formalities. She con- 
tinued standing near the piano, and Klesmer 
took his stand at the other end of it, with his 
back to the light and his terribly omniscient eyes 
upon her. No affectation was of use, and she 
began without delay. 

" I wish to consult you, Herr Klesmer. "We 
have lost all our fortune; we have nothing. I 
must get my own bread, and I desire to provide 
for my mamma, so as to save her from any hard- 
ship. The only way I can think of — and I should 
like it better than anything — is to be an actress 
— to go on the stage. But of course I should like 
to take a high position, and I thought — if you 
thought I could," — here Gwendolen became a 


little more nervous, — " it would be better for me 
to be a singer — to study singing also." 

Klesmer put down his bat on the piano, and 
folded his arms as if to concentrate himself. 

" I know," Gwendolen resumed, turning from 
pale to pink and back again — " I know that my 
method of singing is very defective ; but I have 
been ill taught. I could be better taught ; I could 
study. And you will understand my wish : — to 
sing and act too, like Grisi, is a much higher posi- 
tion. Naturally, I should wish to take as high 
a rank as I can. And I can rely on your judg- 
ment. I am sure you will tell me the truth." 

Gwendolen somehow had the conviction that 
now she made this serious appeal the truth would 
be favourable. 

Still Klesmer did not speak. He drew off his 
gloves quickly, tossed them into his hat, rested 
his hands on his hips, and walked to the other 
end of the room. He was filled with compassion 
for this girl : he wanted to put a guard on his 
speech. When he turned again, he looked at her 
with a mild frown of inquiry, and said with gentle 
though quick utterance, "You have never seen 
anything, I think, of artists and their lives ? — I 
mean of musicians, actors, artists of that kind ? " 

" Oh no," said Gwendolen, not perturbed by a 


reference to this obvious fact in the history of a 
young lady hitherto well provided for. 

"You are, — pardon me," said Klesmer, again 
pausing near the piano — " in coming to a conclu- 
sion on such a matter as this, everything must 
be taken into consideration, — you are perhaps 

"I am twenty-one," said Gwendolen, a slight 
fear rising in her. " Do you think I am too 

Klesmer pouted his under lip and shook his 
long fingers upward in a manner totally enig- 

" Many persons begin later than others," said 
Gwendolen, betrayed by her habitual conscious- 
ness of having valuable information to bestow. 

Klesmer took no notice, but said with more 
studied gentleness than ever, " You have probably 
not thought of an artistic career until now : you 
did not entertain the notion, the longing — what 
shall I say ? — you did not wish yourself an actress, 
or anything of that sort, till the present trouble ?" 

" Not exactly ; but I was fond of acting. I 
have acted ; you saw me, if you remember — 
you saw me here in charades, and as Hermione," 
said Gwendolen, really fearing that Klesmer had 


" Yes, yes," he answered quickly, " I remember 
— I remember perfectly," and again walked to the 
other end of the room. It was difficult for him to 
refrain from this kind of movement when he was 
in any argument either audible or silent. 

Gwendolen felt that she was being weighed. 
The delay was unpleasant. But she did not yet 
conceive that the scale could dip on the wrong 
side, and it seemed to her only graceful to say, 
" I shall be very much obliged to you for taking 
the trouble to give me your advice, whatever it 
may be." 

" Miss Harleth," said Klesmer, turning towards 
her and speaking with a slight increase of accent, 
" I will veil nothing from you in this matter. I 
should reckon myself guilty if I put a false visage 
on things — made them too black or too white. 
The gods have a curse for him who willingly 
tells another the wrong road. And if I misled 
one who is so young, so beautiful — who, I trust, 
wiU find her happiness along the right road, I 
should regard myself as a — Bosewicht." In the 
last word Klesmer's voice had dropped to a loud 

Gwendolen felt a sinking of heart under this 
unexpected solemnity, and kept a sort of fascinated 
gaze on Klesmer's face, while he went on. 


"You are a beautiful young lady — you have 
been brought up in ease — you have done what 
you would — you have not said to yourself, * I must 
know this exactly,' ' I must understand this ex- 
actly/ * I must do this exactly' " — in uttering these 
three terrible musts, Klesmer lifted up three long 
fingers in succession. "In sum, you have not 
been called upon to be anything but a charming 
young lady, whom it is an impoliteness to find 
fault with." 

He paused an instant ; then resting his fingers 
on his hips again, and thrusting out his powerful 
chin, he said — 

"Well, then, with that preparation, you wish 
to try the life of the artist ; you wish to try a life 
of arduous, unceasing work, and — uncertain praise. 
Your praise would have to be earned, like your 
bread ; and both would come slowly, scantily — 
what do I say ? — they might hardly come at all." 

This tone of discouragement, which Klesmer 
half hoped might suffice without anything more 
unpleasant, roused some resistance in Gwendolen. 
With a slight turn of her head away from him, 
and an air of pique, she said — 

" I thought that you, being an artist, would con- 
sider the life one of the most honourable and 
delightful. And if I can do nothing better ? — I 


suppose I can put up with the same risks as other 
people do." 

"Do nothing better?" said Klesmer, a little 
fired. " No, my dear Miss Harleth, you could do 
nothing better — neither man nor woman could do 
anything better — if you could do what was best 
or good of its kind. I am not decrying the life of 
the true artist. I am exalting it. I say, it is out 
of the reach of any but choice organisations — 
natures framed to love perfection and to labour 
for it; ready, like all true lovers, to endure, to 
wait, to say, I am not yet worthy, but she — Art, 
my mistress — is worthy, and I will live to merit 
her. An honourable life ? Yes. But the honour 
comes from the inward vocation and the hard- won 
achievement : there is no honour in donning the 
life as a livery." 

Some excitement of yesterday had revived in 
Klesmer and hurried him into speech a little aloof 
from his immediate friendly purpose. He had 
wished as delicately as possible to rouse in Gwen- 
dolen a sense of her unfitness for a perilous, diffi- 
cult course ; but it was his wont to be angry with 
the pretensions of incompetence, and he was in 
danger of getting chafed. Conscious of this he 
paused suddenly. But Gwendolen's chief impres- 
sion was that he had not yet denied her the power 



of doing what would be good of its kind. Klesmer's 
fervour seemed to be a sort of glamour such as he 
was prone to throw over things in general ; and 
what she desired to assure him of was that she 
was not afraid of some preliminary hardships. 
The belief that to present herself in public on the 
stage must produce an effect such as she had 
been used to feel certain of in private life, was 
like a bit of her flesh — it was not to be peeled 
off readily, but must come with blood and pain. 
She said, in a tone of some insistance — 

*' I am quite prepared to bear hardships at first. 
Of course no one can become celebrated all at 
once. And it is not necessary that every one 
should be first-rate — either actresses or singers. 
If you would be so kind as to tell me what steps 
I should take, I shall have the courage to take 
them. I don't mind going up hill. It will be 
easier than the dead level of being a governess. 
I will take any steps you recommend." 

Klesmer was more convinced now that he must 
speak plainly. 

" I will tell you the steps, not that I recommend, 
but that will be forced upon you. It is all one, so 
far, what your goal may be — excellence, celebrity, 
second, third rateness — it is all one. You must 
go to town under the protection of your mother. 


You must put yourself under trainiug — musical, 
dramatic, theatrical : — whatever you desire to do, 

you have to learn " here Gwendolen looked as 

if she were going to speak, but Klesmer lifted up 
his hand and said decisively, " I know. You have 
exercised your talents — you recite — you sing — 
from the drawing-room standpunkt. My dear 
Fraulein, you must unlearn all that. You have 
not yet conceived what excellence is : you must 
unlearn your mistaken admirations. You must 
know what you have to strive for, and then you 
must subdue your mind and body to unbroken 
discipline. Your mind, I say. For you must not 
be thinking of celebrity : — put that candle out of 
your eyes, and look only at excellence. You 
would of course earn nothing — you could get no 
engagement for a long while. You would need 
money for yourself and your family. But that," 
here Klesmer frowned and shook his fingers as 
if to dismiss a triviality — " that could perhaps be 

Gwendolen turned pink and pale during this 
speech. Her pride had felt a terrible knife-edge, 
and the last sentence only made the smart keener. 
She was conscious of appearing moved, and tried 
to escape from her weakness by suddenly walking 
to a seat and pointing out a chair to Klesmer. 


He did not take it, but turned a little in order to 
face her and leaned against the piano. At that 
moment she wished that she had not sent for 
him : this first experience of being taken on some 
other ground than that of her social rank and her 
beauty was becoming bitter to her. Klesmer, pre- 
occupied with a serious purpose, went on without 
change of tone. 

" Now, what sort of issue might be fairly ex- 
pected from all this self-denial ? You would ask 
that. It is right that your eyes should be open 
to it. I will tell you truthfully. The issue would 
be uncertain and — most probably — would not be 
worth much." 

At these relentless words Klesmer put out his 
lip and looked through his spectacles with the air 
of a monster impenetrable by beauty. 

Gwendolen's eyes began to burn, but the dread 
of showing weakness urged her to added self-con- 
trol. She compelled herself to say in a hard 
tone — 

"You thinlc I want talent, or am too old to 

Klesmer made a sort of hum and then descended 
on an emphatic " Yes ! The desire and the train- 
ing should have begun seven years ago — or a good 
deal earlier. A mountebank's child who helps her 


father to earn shillings when she is six years old 
— a child that inherits a singing throat from a 
long line of choristers and learns to sing as it learns 
to talk, has a likelier beginning. Any great 
achievement in acting or in music grows with 
the growth. Wlienever an artist has been able to 
say, ' I came, I saw, I conquered,' it has been at 
the end of patient practice. Genius at first is 
little more than a great capacity for receiving 
discipline. Singing and acting, like the fine 
dexterity of the juggler with his cups and balls, 
require a shaping of the organs towards a finer 
and finer certainty of effect. Your muscles — ^your 
whole frame — must go like a watch, true, true, 
true, to a hair. That is the work of spring-time, 
before habits have been determined." 

" I did not pretend to genius," said Gwendolen, 
still feeling that she might somehow do what 
Klesmer wanted to represent as impossible. "I 
only supposed that I might have a little talent — 
enough to improve." 

"I don't deny that," said Klesmer. "If you 
had been put in the right track some years ago 
and had worked well, you might now have made 
a public singer, though I don't think your voice 
would have counted for much in public. For the 
stage your personal charms and intelligence might 


then have told without the present drawback of 
inexperience — lack of discipline — lack of instruc- 

Certainly Klesmer seemed cruel, but his feel- 
ing was the reverse of cruel. Our speech even 
when we are most single-minded can never take 
its line absolutely from one impulse; but Kles- 
mer's was as far as possible directed by compassion 
for poor Gwendolen's ignorant eagerness to enter on 
a course of which he saw all the miserable details 
with a definiteness which he could not if he would 
have conveyed to her mind. 

Gwendolen, however, was not convinced. Her 
self-opinion rallied, and since the counsellor whom 
she had called in gave a decision of such severe 
peremptoriness, she was tempted to think that his 
judgment was not only fallible but biassed. It 
occurred to her that a simpler and wiser step for 
her to have taken would have been to send a 
letter through the post to the manager of a London 
theatre, asking him to make an appointment. 
She would make no further reference to her sing- 
ing: Klesmer, she saw, had set himself against 
her singing. But she felt equal to arguing with 
him about her going on the stage, and she an- 
swered in a resistant tone — 

*' I understand, of course, that no one can be a 


finished actress at once. It may be impossible to 
tell beforehand whether I should succeed ; but 
that seems to me a reason why I should try. I 
should have thought that I might have taken an 
engagement at a theatre meanwhile, so as to earn 
money and study at the same time." 

" Can't be done, my dear Miss Harleth — I speak 
plainly — it can't be done. I must clear your 
mind of these notions, which have no more resem- 
blance to reality than a pantomime. Ladies and 
gentlemen think that when they have made their 
toilet and drawn on their gloves they are as 
presentable on the stage as in a drawing-room. 
No manager thinks that. With all your grace and 
charm, if you were to present yourself as an aspir- 
ant to the stage, a manager would either require 
you to pay as an amateur for being allowed to 
perform, or he would tell you to go and be taught 
— trained to bear yourself on the stage, as a horse, 
however beautiful, must be trained for the circus ; 
to say nothing of that study which would enable 
you to personate a character consistently, and 
animate it with the natural language of face, 
gesture, and tone. For you to get an engagement 
fit for you straight away is out of the question." 

" I really cannot understand that," said Gwen- 
dolen, rather haughtily — then, checking herself. 


she added in another tone — " I shall be obliged to 
you if you will explain how it is that such poor 
actresses get engaged. I have been to the theatre 
several times, and I am sure there were actresses 
who seemed to me to act not at all well and who 
were quite plain." 

" Ah, my dear Miss Harleth, that is the easy 
criticism of the buyer. We who buy slippers toss 
away this pair and the other as clumsy ; but there 
went an apprenticeship to the making of them. 
Excuse me : you could not at present teach one of 
those actresses ; but there is certainly much that 
she could teach you. For example, she can pitch 
her voice so as to be heard : ten to one you could 
not do it till after many trials. Merely to stand 
and move on the stage is an art — requires practice. 
It is understood that we are not now talking 
of a comparse in a petty theatre who earns the 
wages of a needlewoman. That is out of the 
question for you." 

" Of course I must earn more than that," said 
Gwendolen, with a sense of wincing rather than 
of being refuted ; " but I think I could soon learn 
to do tolerably well all those little things you 
have mentioned. I am not so very stupid. And 
even in Paris I am sure I saw two actresses play- 
ing important ladies' parts who were not at all 
ladies and quite ugly. I suppose I have no par- 


ticular talent, but I must think it is an advantage, 
even on the stage, to be a lady and not a perfect 

" Ah, let us understand each other," said Kles- 
mer, with a flash of new meaning. " I was speak- 
ing of what you would have to go through if you 
aimed at becoming a real artist — if you took music 
and the drama as a higher vocation in which you 
would strive after excellence. On that head, what 
I have said stands fast. You would find — after 
your education in doing things slackly for one-and- 
twenty years — great difficulties in study: you 
would find mortifications in the treatment you 
would get when you presented yourself on the 
footing of skill. You would be subjected to tests ; 
people would no longer feign not to see your 
blunders. You would at first only be accepted on 
trial You would have to bear what I may call a 
glaring insignificance : any success must be won 
by the utmost patience. You would have to keep 
your place in a crowd, and after all it is likely 
you would lose it and get out of sight. If you de- 
termine to face these hardships and still try, you 
will have the dignity of a high purpose, even 
though you may have chosen unfortunately. You 
will have some merit, though you may win no 
prize. You have asked my judgment on your 
chances of winning. I don't pretend to speak ab- 


solutely; but measuring probabilities, my judg- 
ment is: — you will hardly achieve more than 

Klesmer had delivered himself with emphatic 
rapidity, and now paused a moment. Gwendo- 
len was motionless, looking at her hands, which 
lay over each other on her lap, till the deep- 
toned, long-drawn " But," with which he resumed, 
had a startling effect, and made her look at him 

" But — there are certainly other ideas, other dis- 
positions with which a young lady may take up 
an art that will bring her before the public. She 
may rely on the unquestioned power of her beauty 
as a passport. She may desire to exhibit herself 
to an admiration which dispenses with skill. This 
goes a certain way on the stage : not in music : 
but on the stage, beauty is taken when there is 
nothing more commanding to be had. Not with- 
out some drilling, however : as I have said before, 
technicalities have in any case to be mastered. 
But these excepted, we have here nothing to do 
with art. The woman who takes up this career 
is not an artist : she is usually one who thinks of 
entering on a luxurious life by a short and easy 
road — perhaps by marriage — that is her most 
brilliant chance, and the rarest. Still, her career 


will not be luxurious to begin with: she can 
hardly earn her own poor bread independently at 
once, and the indignities she will be liable to are 
such as I will not speak of." 

" 1 desire to be independent," said Gwendolen, 
deeply stung and confusedly apprehending some 
scorn for herself in Klesmer's words. " That was 
my reason for asking whether I could not get an 
immediate engagement. Of course I cannot know 
how things go on about theatres. But I thought 
that I could have made myself independent. I 
have no money, and I will not accept help from 
any one." 

Her wounded pride could not rest without 
making this disclaimer. It was intolerable to her 
that Klesmer should imagine her to have expected 
other help from him than advice. 

" That is a hard saying for your friends," said 
Klesmer, recovering the gentleness of tone with 
which he had begun the conversation. " I have 
given you pain. That was inevitable. I was 
bound to put the truth, the unvarnished truth be- 
fore you. I have not said — I will not say — you 
will do wrong to choose the hard, climbing path 
of an endeavouring artist. You have to compare 
its difficulties with those of any less hazardous 
— any more private course which opens itself 


to you. If you take that more courageous re- 
solve I will ask leave to shake hands v^ith you 
on the strength of our freemasonry, where we 
are all vowed to the service of Art, and to serve 
her by helping every fellow-servant/' 

Gwendolen was silent, again looking at her 
hands. She felt herself very far away from taking 
the resolve that would enforce acceptance ; and 
after waiting an instant or two, Klesmer went on 
with deepened seriousness. 

" Where there is the duty of service there must 
be the duty of accepting it. The question is not 
one of personal obligation. And in relation to 
practical matters immediately affecting your future 
— excuse my permitting myself to mention in con- 
fidence an affair of my own. I am expecting an 
event which would make it easy for me to exert 
myself on your behalf in furthering your oppor- 
tunities of instruction and residence in London — 
under the care, that is, of your family — without 
need for anxiety on your part. If you resolve to 
take art as a bread-study, you need only under- 
take the study at first ; the bread will be found 
without trouble. The event I mean is my marriage, 
— in fact — you will receive this as a matter of confi- 
dence, — my marriage with Miss Arrowpoint, which 
will more than double such right as I have to be 


trusted by you as a friend. Your friendship will 
have greatly risen in value for her by your having 
adopted that generous labour." 

Gwendolen's face had begun to burn. That 
Klesmer was about to marry Miss Arrowpoint 
caused her no surprise, and at another moment 
she would have amused herself in quickly ima- 
gining the scenes that must have occurred at 
Quetcham. But what engrossed her feeling, what 
filled her imagination now, was the panorama of 
her own immediate future that Klesmer's words 
seemed to have unfolded. The suggestion of 
Miss Arrowpoint as a patroness was only another 
detail added to its repulsiveness : Klesmer's pro- 
posal to help her seemed an additional irritation 
after the humiliating judgment he had passed on 
her capabilities. His words had really bitten 
into her self-confidence and turned it into the 
pain of a bleeding wound ; and the idea of pre- 
senting herself before other judges was now 
poisoned with the dread that they also might be 
harsh : they also would not recognise the talent 
she was conscious of But she controlled herself, 
and rose from her seat before she made any 
answer. It seemed natural that she should pause. 
She went to the piano and looked absently at 
leaves of music, pinching up the corners. At 


last she turned towards Klesmer and said, with 
almost her usual air of proud equality, which in 
this interview had not been hitherto perceptible — 

"I congratulate you sincerely, Herr Klesmer. 
I think I never saw any one more admirable than 
Miss Arrowpoint. And I have to thank you for 
every sort of kindness this morning. But I can't 
decide now. If I make the resolve you have 
spoken of, I will use your .permission — I will let 
you know. But I fear the obstacles are too great. 
In any case, I am deeply obliged to you. It was 
very bold of me to ask you to take this trouble." 

Klesmer's inward remark was, " She will never 
let me know." But with the most thorough respect 
in his manner, he said, " Command me at any 
time. There is an address on this card which will 
always find me with little delay." 

When he had taken up his hat and was going 
to make his bow, Gwendolen's better self, con- 
scious of an ingratitude which the clear-seeing 
Klesmer must have penetrated, made a desperate 
effort to find its way above the stifling layers of 
egoistic disappointment and irritation. Looking 
at him with a glance of the old gaiety, she put 
out her hand, and said with a smile, " If I take 
the wrong road, it will not be because of your 


"God forbid that you should take any road 
but one where you will find and give happiness ! " 
said Klesmer, fervently. Then, in foreign fashion, 
he touched her fingers lightly with his lips, and 
in another minute she heard the sound of his de- 
parting wheels getting more distant on the gravel. 

Gwendolen had never in her life felt so miser- 
able. No sob came, no passion of tears, to relieve 
her. Her eyes were burning; and the noonday 
only brought into more dreary clearness the 
absence of interest from her life. All memories, 
all objects, the pieces of music displayed, the open 
piano — the very reflection of herself in the glass — 
seemed no better than the packed-up shows of 
a departing fair. For the first time since her 
consciousness began, she was having a vision of 
herself on the common level, and had lost the 
innate sense that there were reasons why she 
should not be slighted, elbowed, jostled — treated 
like a passenger with a third-class ticket, in spite 
of private objections on her own part. She did 
not move about ; the prospects begotten by dis- 
appointment were too oppressively preoccupying ; 
she threw herself into the shadiest corner of a 
settee, and pressed her fingers over her burning 
eyelids. Every word that Klesmer had said 
seemed to have been branded into her memory, 


as most words are which bring with them a new 
set of impressions and make an epoch for us. 
Only a few hours before, the dawning smile of 
self-contentment rested on her lips as she vaguely 
imagined a future suited to her wishes : it seemed 
but the affair of a year or so for her to become the 
most approved Juliet of the time ; or, if Klesmer 
encouraged her idea of being a singer, to proceed 
by more gradual steps to her place in the opera, 
while she won money and applause by occasional 
performances. Why not ? At home, at school, 
among acquaintances, she had been used to have 
her conscious superiority admitted ; and she had 
moved in a society where everything, from low 
arithmetic to high art, is of the amateur kind 
politely supposed to fall short of perfection only 
because gentlemen and ladies are not obliged to 
do more than they like — otherwise they would 
probably give forth abler writings and show them- 
selves more commanding artists than any the 
world is at present obliged to put up with. The 
self-confident visions that had beguiled her were 
not of a highly exceptional kind ; and she had at 
least shown some rationality in consulting the 
person who knew the most and had flattered her 
the least. In asking Klesmer's advice, however, 
she had rather been borne up by a belief in his 


latent admiration than bent on knowing anything 
more unfavourable that might have lain behind 
his slight objections to her singing ; and the truth 
she had asked for with an expectation that it 
would be agreeable, had come like a lacerating 

" Too old — should have begun seven years ago 
— ^you will not, at best, achieve more than medi- 
ocrity — ^hard, incessant work, imcertain praise — 
bread coming slowly, scantily, perhaps not at all 
— ^mortifications, people no longer feigning not to 
see your blunders — glaring insignificance" — all 
these phrases rankled in her ; and even more 
galling was the hint that she could only be ac- 
cepted on the stage as a beauty who hoped to get 
a husband. The " indignities" that she might be 
visited with had no very definite form for her, but 
the mere association of anything called "indig- 
nity" with herself, roused a resentful alarm. And 
along with the vaguer images which were raised 
by those biting words, came the more precise con- 
ception of disagreeables which her experience 
enabled her to imagine. How could she take her 
mamma and the four sisters to London, if it were 
not possible for her to earn money at once ? And 
as for submitting to be a proUg^ey and a^ing her 
mamma to submit with her to the humiliation of 



being supported by Miss Arrowpoint — that was as 
bad as being a governess ; nay, worse ; for suppose 
the end of all her study to be as worthless as Kles- 
mer clearly expected it to be, the sense of favours 
received and never repaid, would embitter the 
miseries of disappointment. Klesmer doubtless 
had magnificent ideas about helping artists ; but 
how could he know the feelings of ladies j.n such 
matters ? It was all over : she had entertained a 
mistaken hope ; and there was an end of it. 

"An end of it ! " said Gwendolen, aloud, start- 
ing from her seat as she heard the steps and 
voices of her mamma and sisters coming in from 
church. She hurried to the piano and began gath- 
ering together her pieces of music with assumed 
diligence, while the expression on her pale face 
and in her burning eyes was what would have 
suited a woman enduring a wrong which she 
might not resent, but would probably revenge. 

" Well, my darling," said gentle Mrs Davilow, 
entering, "I see by the wheel-marks that Klesmer 
has been here. Have you been satisfied with the 
interview?" She had some guesses as to its 
object, but felt timid about implying them. 

" Satisfied, mamma ? oh yes," said Gwendolen, 
in a high hard tone, for which she must be ex- 
cused^ because she dreaded a scene of emotion. 


If she did not set herself resolutely to feign proud 
indifference, she felt that she must fall into a pas- 
sionate outburst of despair, which would cut her 
mamma more deeply than all the rest of their 

" Your uncle and aunt were disappointed at not 
seeing you," said Mrs Davilow, coming near the 
piano, and watching Gwendolen's movements. I 
only said that you wanted rest." 

" Quite right, mamma," said Gwendolen, in the 
same tone, turning to put away some music. 

" Am I not to know anything now, Gwendolen ? 
Am I always to be in the dark?" said Mrs 
Davilow, too keenly sensitive to her daughter's 
manner and expression not to fear that something 
painful had occurred. 

" There is really nothing to tell now, mamma," 
said Gwendolen, in a still higher voice. " I had 
a mistaken idea about something I could do. 
Herr Klesmer has undeceived me. That is all." 

" Don't look and speak in that way, my dear 
child : I cannot bear it," said Mrs Davilow, break- 
ing down. She felt an undefinable terror. 

Gwendolen looked at her a moment in silence, 
biting her inner lip ; then she went up to her, and 
putting her hands on her mamma's shoulders, 
said with a drop of her voice to the lowest under- 


tone, "Mamma, don't speak to me now. It is 
useless to cry and waste our strength over what 
can't be altered. You will live at Sawyer's Cot- 
tage, and I am going to the bishop's daughters. 
There is no more to be said. Things cannot be 
altered, and who cares ? It makes no difference 
to any one else what we do. We must try not 
to care ourselves. We must not give way. I 
dread giving way. Help me to be quiet." 

Mrs Davilow was like a frightened child under 
her daughter's face and voice : her tears were 
arrested and she went away in silence. 



" I question things and do not find 
One that will answer to my mind ; 
And all the world appears unkind." 

— Wordsworth. 

Gwendolen was glad that she had got through 
her interview with Klesmer before meeting her 
uncle and aunt. She had made up her mind now 
that there were only disagreeables before her, and 
she felt able to maintain a dogged calm in the 
face of any humiliation that might be proposed. 

The meeting did not happen until the Mon- 
day, when Gwendolen went to the rectory with 
her mamma. They had called at Sawyer's Cot- 
tage by the way, and had seen every cranny of 
the narrow rooms in a mid-day light unsoftened 
by blinds and curtains ; for the furnishing to be 
done by gleanings from the rectory had not yet 

"How shall you endure it, mamma?" said 
Gwendolen, as they walked away. She had not 


opened her lips while they were looking round at 
the bare walls and floors, and the little garden 
with the cabbage-stalks, and the yew arbour all 
dust and cobwebs within. "You and the four 
girls all in that closet of a room, with the green 
and yellow paper pressing on your eyes? And 
without me ? " 

*' It will be some comfort that you have not to 
bear it too, dear." 

" If it were not that I must get some money, I 
would rather be there than go to be a governess." 

"Don't set yourself against it beforehand, 
Gwendolen. If you go to the palace you will 
have every luxury about you. And you know 
how much you have always cared for that. You 
will not find it so hard as going up and down 
those steep narrow stairs, and hearing the crock- 
ery rattle through the house, and the dear girls 

" It is like a bad dream," said Gwendolen, im- 
petuously. " I cannot believe that my uncle will 
let you go to such a place. He ought to have 
taken some other steps." 

"Don't be unreasonable, dear child. What 
could he have done ? " 

" That was for him to find out. It seems to me 
a very extraordinary world if people in our posi- 


tion must sink in this way all at once," said 
Gwendolen, the other worlds with which she 
was conversant being constructed with a sense of 
fitness that arranged her own future agreeably. 

It was her tamper that framed her sentences 
under this entirely new pressure of evils: she 
could have spoken more suitably on the vicissi- 
tudes in other people's lives, though it was nevei 
her aspiration to express herself virtuously so 
much as cleverly — a point to be remembered in 
extenuation of her words, which were usually 
worse than she was. 

And, notwithstanding the keen sense of her 
own bruises, she was capable of some compunc- 
tion when her uncle and aunt received her with 
a more affectionate kindness than they had ever 
shown before. She could not biit be struck by 
the dignified cheerfulness with which they talked 
of the necessary economies in their way of living, 
and in the education of the boys. Mr Gascoigne's 
worth of character, a little obscured by worldly 
opportunities — as the poetic beauty of women is 
obscured by the demands of fashionable dressing 
— showed itself to great advantage under this 
sudden reduction of fortune. Prompt and me- 
thodical, he had set himself not only to put down 
his carriage, but to reconsider his worn suits of 


clothes, to leave off meat for breakfast, to do 
without periodicals, to get Edwy from school and 
arrange hours of study for all the boys under him- 
self, and to order the whole establishment on the 
sparest footing possible. For all healthy people 
economy has its pleasures ; and the Eector's spirit 
had spread through the household. Mrs Gascoigne 
and Anna, who always made papa their model, 
really did not miss anything they cared about for 
themselves, and in all sincerity felt that the sad- 
dest part of the family losses was the change for 
Mrs Davilow and her children. 

Anna for the first time could merge her resent- 
ment on behalf of Eex in her sympathy with 
Gwendolen ; and Mrs Gascoigne was disposed to 
hope that trouble would have a salutary effect on 
her niece, without thinking it her duty to add 
any bitters by way of increasing the salutariness. 
They had both been busy devising how to get 
blinds and curtains for the cottage out of the 
household stores; but with delicate feeling they 
left these matters in the background, and talked 
at first of Gwendolen's journey, and the comfort it 
was to her mamma to have her at home again. 

In fact there was nothing for Gwendolen to 
take as a justification for extending her discontent 
with events to the persons immediately around 


her, and she felt shaken into a more alert atten- 
tion, as if by a call to drill that everybody else 
was obeying, when her uncle began in a voice of 
firm kindness to talk to her of the efforts he had 
been making to get her a situation which would 
offer her as many advantages as possible. Mr 
Gascoigne had not forgotten Grandcourt, but the 
possibility of further advances from that quarter 
was something too vague for a man of his good 
sense to be determined by it : uncertainties of that 
kind must not now slacken his action in doing the 
best he could for his niece under actual conditions. 
" I felt that there was no time to be lost, Gwen- 
dolen ; — ^for a position in a good family where you 
will have some consideration is not to be had at 
a moment's notice. And however long we waited 
we could hardly find one where you would be bet- 
ter off than at Bishop Mompert's. I am known to 
both him and Mrs Mompert, and that of course is 
an advantage for you. Our correspondence has 
gone on favourably ; but I cannot be surprised that 
Mrs Mompert wishes to see you before making an 
absolute engagement. She thinks of arranging 
for you to meet her at Wancester when she is 
on her way to town. I daresay you will feel the 
interview rather trying foryou, my dear; but you 
will have a little time to prepare your mind." 


" Do you know why she wants to see me, 
uncle ?" said Gwendolen, whose mind had quickly- 
gone over various reasons that an imaginary Mrs 
Mompert with three daughters might be supposed 
to entertain, reasons all of a disagreeable kind to 
the person presenting herself for inspection. 

The Eector smiled, "Don't be alarmed, my 
dear. She would like to have a more precise idea 
of you than my report can give. And a mother 
is naturally scrupulous about a companion for her 
daughters. I have told her you are very young. 
But she herself exercises a close supervision over 
her daughters' education, and that makes her less 
anxious as to age. She is a woman of taste and 
also of strict principle, and objects to having a 
French person in the house. I feel sure that she 
will think your manners and accomplishments as 
good as she is likely to find; and over the religious 
and moral tone of the education she, and indeed 
the bishop himself, will preside/' 

Gwendolen dared not answer, but the repression 
of her decided dislike to the whole prospect sent an 
unusually deep flush over her face and neck, sub- 
siding as quickly as it came. Anna, full of tender 
fears, put her little hand into her cousin's, and 
Mr Gascoigne was too kind a man not to conceive 
something of the trial which this sudden change 


must be for a girl like Gwendolen. Bent on 
giving a cheerful view of things, he went on in an 
easy tone of remark, not as if answering supposed 
objections — 

" I think so highly of the position, that I should 
have been tempted to try and get it for Anna, if 
she had been at all likely to meet Mrs Mompert's 
wants. It is really a home, with a continuance 
of education in the highest sense : 'governess' is 
a misnomer. The bishop's views are of a more 
decidedly Low Church colour than my own — he 
is a close friend of Lord Grampian's ; but though 
privately strict, he is not by any means narrow in 
public matters. Indeed, he has created as little 
dislike in his diocese as any bishop on the bench. 
He has always remained friendly to me, though 
before his promotion, when he was an incumbent 
of this diocese, we had a little controversy about 
the Bible Society." 

The Eector's words were too pregnant with 
satisfactory meaning to himself for him to imagine 
the effect they produced in the mind of his niece. 
"Continuance of education" — "bishop's views" — 
"privately strict" — "Bible Society," — it was as if 
he had introduced a few snakes at large for the 
instruction of ladies who regarded them as all 
aKke furnished with poison -bags, and biting or 


stinging according to convenience. To Gwen- 
dolen, already shrinking from the prospect opened 
to her, such phrases came like the growing heat 
of a burning-glass — not at all as the links of 
persuasive reflection which they formed for the 
good uncle. She began desperately to seek an 

" There was another situation, I think, mamma 
spoke of?" she said, with determined self-mastery. 

" Yes," said the Eector, in rather a depreciatory 
tone; "but that is in a school. I should not 
have the same satisfaction in your taking that. 
It would be much harder work, you are aware, 
and not so good in any other respect. Besides, 
you have not an equal chance of getting it." 

" Oh dear no," said Mrs Gascoigne, " it would 
be much harder for you, my dear — much less 
appropriate. You might not have a bedroom to 
yourself." And Gwendolen's memories of school 
suggested other particulars which forced her to 
admit to herself that this alternative would be no 
relief. She turned to her uncle again and said, 
apparently in acceptance of his ideas — 

" When is Mrs Mompert likely to send for 

" That is rather uncertain, but she has promised 
not to entertain any other proposal till she has 


seen you. She has entered with much feeling into 
your position. It will be within the next fort- 
night, probably. But I must be off now. I am 
going to let part of my glebe uncommonly well." 

The Eector ended very cheerfully, leaving the 
room with the satisfactory conviction that Gwen- 
dolen was going to adapt herself to circumstances 
like a girl of good sense. Having spoken appro- 
priately, he naturally supposed that the effects 
would be appropriate; being accustomed as a 
household and parish authority to be asked to 
"speak to" refractory persons, with the under- 
standing that the measure was morally coercive. 

"What a stay Henry is to us all!" said Mrs 
Gascoigne, when her husband had left the room. 

"He is indeed," said Mrs Davilow, cordially. 
"I think cheerfulness is a fortune in itself. I 
wish I had it." 

"And Eex is just like him," said Mrs Gascoigne, 
" I must tell you the comfort we have had in a 
letter from him. I must read you a little bit," 
she added, taking the letter from her pocket, while 
Anna looked rather frightened — she did not know 
why, except that it had been a rule with her not 
to mention Rex before Gwendolen. 

The proud mother ran her eyes over the letter, 
seeking for sentences to read aloud. But ap- 


parently she had found it sown with what might 
seem to be closer allusions than she desired to the 
recent past, for she looked up, folding the letter, 
and saying — 

"However, he tells us that our trouble has 
made a man of him; he sees a reason for any 
amount of work : he means to get a fellowship, to 
take pupils, to set one of his brothers going, to be 
everything that is most remarkable. The letter 
is full of fun — ^just like him. He says, 'Tell 
mother she has put out an advertisement for a 
jolly good hard-working son, in time to hinder me 
from taking ship ; and I offer myself for the place.' 
The letter came on Friday. I never saw my hus- 
band so much moved by anything since Eex was 
born. It seemed a gain to balance our loss." 

This letter, in fact, was what had helped 
both Mrs Gascoigne and Anna to show Gwen- 
dolen an unmixed kindliness ; and she herself 
felt very amiably about it, smiling at Anna and 
pinching her chin as much as to say, " Nothing is 
wrong with you now, is it ? " She had no gratui- 
tously ill-natured feeling, or egoistic pleasure in 
making men miserable. She only had an intense 
objection to their making her miserable. 

But when the talk turned on furniture for the 
cottage, Gwendolen was not roused to show even 


a languid interest. She thought that she had 
done as much as could be expected of her this 
morning, and indeed felt at an heroic pitch in 
keeping to herself the struggle that was going 
on within her. The recoil of her mind from the 
only definite prospect allowed her, was stronger 
than even she had imagined beforehand. The 
idea of presenting herself before Mrs Mompert in 
the first instance, to be approved or disapproved, 
came as pressure on an already painful bruise: 
even as a governess, it appeared, she was to be 
tested and was liable to rejection. After she had 
done herself the violence to accept the bishop and 
his wife, they were still to consider whether they 
would accept her ; it was at her peril that she was 
to look, speak, or be silent. And even when she 
had entered on her dismal task of self-constraint in 
the society of three girls whom she was bound 
incessantly to edify, the same process of inspec- 
tion was to go on : there was always to be Mrs 
Mompert's supervision ; always something or 
other would be expected of her to which she had 
not the slightest inclination; and perhaps the 
bishop would examine her on serious topics. 
Gwendolen, lately used to the social successes of a 
handsome girl, whose lively venturesomeness of 
talk has the effect of wit, and who six weeks be- 


fore would have pitied tlie dulness of the bishop 
rather than have been embarrassed by him, saw 
the life before her as an entrance into a peniten- 
tiary. Wild thoughts of running away to be an 
actress, in spite of Klesmer, came to her with the 
lure of freedom ; but his words still hung heavily 
on her soul ; they had alarmed her pride and even 
her maidenly dignity: dimly she conceived herself 
getting amongst vulgar people who would treat 
her with rude familiarity — odious men whose 
grins and smirks would not be seen through the 
strong grating of polite society. Gwendolen's 
daring was not in the least that of the adventuress; 
the demand to be held a lady was in her very 
marrow ; and when she had dreamed that she 
might be the heroine of the gaming-table, it was 
with the understanding that no one should treat 
her with the less consideration, or presume to 
look at her with irony as Deronda had done. To 
be protected and petted, and to have her suscepti- 
bilities consulted in every detail, had gone along 
with her food and clothing as matters of course in 
her life : even without any such warning as Kles- 
mer's she could not have thought it an attractive 
freedom to be thrown in solitary dependence on 
the doubtful civility of strangers. The endurance 
of the episcopal penitentiary was less repulsive 


than that; though here too she would certainly 
never be petted or have her susceptibilities con- 
sulted. Her rebellion against this hard necessity 
which had come just to her of all people in the 
world — to her whom all circumstances had con- 
curred in preparing for something quite different 
— was exaggerated instead of diminished as one 
hour followed another, filled with the imagination 
of what she might have expected in her lot and 
what it was actually to be. The family troubles, 
she thought,'were easier for every one than for her 
— even for poor dear mamma, because she had 
always used herself to not enjoying. As to hoping 
that if she went to the Momperts' and was patient 
a little while, things might get better — it would be 
stupid to entertain hopes for herself after all that 
had happened : her talents, it appeared, would 
never be recognised as anything remarkable, and 
there was not a single direction in which pro- 
bability seemed to flatter her wishes. Some 
beautiful girls who, like her, had read romances 
where even plain governesses are centres of attrac- 
tion and are sought in marriage, might have 
solaced themselves a little by transporting such 
pictures into their own future ; but even if Gwen- 
dolen's experience had led her to dwell on love- 
making and marriage as her elysium, her heart 



was too much oppressed by what was near to her, 
in both the past and the future, for her to pro- 
ject her anticipations very far off. She had a 
world-nausea upon her, and saw no reason all 
through her life why she should wish to live. "No 
religious view of trouble helped her : her troubles 
had in her opinion all been caused by other 
people's disagreeable or wicked conduct ; and there 
was really nothing pleasant to be counted on in 
the world : that was her feeling ; everything else 
she had heard said about trouble was mere phrase- 
making not attractive enough for her to have 
caught it up and repeated it. As to the sweet- 
ness of labour and fulfilled claims ; the interest of 
inward and outward activity ; the impersonal de- 
lights of life as a perpetual discovery; the dues of 
courage, fortitude, industry, which it is mere base- 
ness not to pay towards the common burthen; 
the supreme worth of the teacher's vocation; — 
these, even if they had been eloquently preached 
to her, could have been no more than faintly 
apprehended doctrines : the fact which wrought 
upon her was her invariable observation that for 
a lady to become a governess — to " take a situa- 
tion " — was to descend in life and to be treated at 
best with a compassionate patronage. And'poor 
Gwendolen had never dissociated happiness from 


personal pre-eminence and 4clat. That where these 
threatened to forsake her, she should take life 
to be hardly worth the having, cannot make her 
so unlike the rest of us, men or women, that 
we should cast her out of our compassion ; our 
moments of temptation to a mean opinion of 
things in general being usually dependent on some 
susceptibility about ourselves and some dulness 
to subjects which every one else would consider 
more important. Surely a young creature is 
pitiable who has the labyrinth of life before her 
and no clue — to whom distrust in herself and her 
good fortune has come as a sudden shock, like a 
rent across the path that she was treading care- 

In spite of her healthy frame, her irreconcilable 
repugnance affected her even physically : she felt 
a sort of numbness and could set about nothing ; 
the least urgency, even that she should take her 
meals, was an irritation to her ; the speech of f 
others on any subject seemed unreasonable, because ) 
it did not include her feeling and was an ignorant 
claim on her. It was not in her nature to busy 
herself with the fancies of suicide to which dis- 
appointed young people are prone : what oc- 
cupied and exasperated her was the sense that 
there was nothing for her but to live in a way she 


hated. She avoided going to the rectory again : 
it was too intolerable to have to look and talk as 
if she were compliant ; and she could not exert 
herself to show interest about the furniture of 
that horrible cottage. Miss Merry was staying on 
purpose to help, and such people as Jocosa liked 
that sort of thing. Her mother had to make ex- 
cuses for her not appearing, even when Anna came 
to see her. For that calm which Gwendolen had 
promised herself to maintain had changed into 
sick motivelessness : she thought, " I suppose I 
shall begin to pretend by-and-by, but why should 
I do it now?" 

Her mother watched her with silent distress ; 
and, lapsing into the habit of indulgent tenderness, 
she began to think what she imagined that Gwen- 
dolen was thinking, and to wish that everything 
should give way to the possibility of making her 
darling less miserable. 

One day when she was in the black and yellow 
bedroom and her mother was lingering there under 
the pretext of considering and arranging Gwen- 
dolen's articles of dress, she suddenly roused her- 
self to fetch the casket which contained her orna- 

" Mamma," she began, glancing over the upper 
layer, " I had forgotten these things. Why didn't 


you remind me of them ? Do see about getting 
them sold. You will not mind about parting with 
them. You gave them aU to me long ago." 

She lifted the upper tray and looked below. 

" If we can do without them, darling, I would 
rather keep them for you," said Mrs Davilow, 
seating herself beside Gwendolen with a feeling of 
relief that she was beginning to talk about some- 
thing. The usual relation between them had be- 
come reversed. It was now the mother who tried 
to cheer the daughter. " Why, how came you to 
put that pocket-handkerchief in here ? " 

It was the handkerchief with the comer torn off 
which Gwendolen had thrust in with the turquoise 

" It happened to be with the necklace — I was in 
a hurry," said Gwendolen, taking the handkerchief 
away and putting it in her pocket. " Don't sell 
the necklace, mamma," she added, a new feeling 
having come over her about that rescue of it which 
had formerly been so offensive. 

" No, dear, no ; it was made out of your dear 
father's chain. And I should prefer not selling 
the other things. None of them are of any great 
value. All my best ornaments were taken from 
me long ago." 

Mrs Davilow coloured. She usually avoided any 


reference to such facts about Gwendolen's step- 
father as that he had carried off his wife's jewel- 
lery and disposed of it. After a moment's pause 
she went on — 

" And these things have not been reckoned on 
for any expenses. Carry them with you." 

"That would be quite useless, mamma," said 

Gwendolen, coldly. " Governesses don't wear or- 

"naments. You had better get me a grey frieze 

livery and a straw poke, such as my aunt's charity 

children wear." 

" No, dear, no ; don't take that view of it. I 
feel sure the Momperts will like you the better for 
being graceful and elegant." 

" I am not at all sure what the Momperts will 
like me to be. It is enough that I am expected 
to be what they like," said Gwendolen, bitterly. 

" If there is anything you would object to less 
— anything that could be done — instead of your 
going to the bishop's, do say so, Gwendolen. 
Tell me what is in your heart. I will try for any- 
thing you wish," said the mother, beseechingly. 
" Don't keep things away from me. Let us bear 
them together." 

" Oh mamma, there is nothing to tell. I can't do 
anything better. -I must think myself fortunate if 
they will have me. I shall get some money for 


you. That is the only thing I have to think of. 
I shall not spend any money this year : you will 
have all the eighty pounds. I don't know how 
far that will go in housekeeping ; but you need 
not stitch your poor fingers to the bone, and stare 
away all the sight that the tears have left in your 
dear eyes." 

Gwendolen did not give any caresses with her 
words as she had been used to do. She did not 
even look at her mother, but was looking at the 
turquoise necklace as she turned it over her 

" Bless you for your tenderness, my good dar- 
ling ! " said Mrs Davilow, with tears in her eyes. 
"Don't despair because there are clouds now. 
You are so young. There may be great happiness 
in store for you yet." 

" I don't see any reason for expecting it, 
mamma," said Gwendolen, in a hard tone ; and 
Mrs Davilow was silent, thinking as she had often 
thought before — " What did happen between her 
and Mr Grandcourt?" 

"I will keep this necklace, mamma," said 
Gwendolen, laying it apart and then closing the 
casket. " But do get the other things sold even if 
they will not bring much. Ask my uncle what to 
do with them. I shall certainly not use them again. 


I am going to take the veil. I wonder if all 
the poor wretches who have ever taken it felt 
as I do." 

"Don't exaggerate evils, dear." 

" How can any one know that I exaggerate, when 
I am speaking of my own feeling ? I did not say 
what any one else felt." 

She took out the torn handkerchief from her 
pocket again, and wrapt it deliberately round the 
necklace. Mrs Davilow observed the action with 
some surprise, but the tone of the last words dis- 
couraged her from asking any question. 

The " feeling " Gwendolen spoke of with an air 
of tragedy was not to be explained by the mere 
fact that she was going to be a governess : she 
was possessed by a spirit of general disappoint- 
ment. It was not simply that she had a distaste 
for what she was called on to do : the distaste 
spread itself over the world outside her peniten- 
tiary, since she saw nothing very pleasant in it 
that seemed attainable by her even if she were 
free. Naturally her grievances did not seem to 
her smaller than some of her male contemporaries 
held theirs to be when they felt a profession too 
narrow for their powers, and had an a priori convic- 
tion that it was not worth while to put forth their 
latent abilities. Because her education had been 
less expensive than theirs it did not follow that 


she should have wider emotions or a keener intel- 
lectual vision. Her griefs were feminine ; but to 
her as a woman they were not the less hard to 
bear, and she felt an equal right to the Prome- 
thean tone. 

But the movement of mind which led her to 
keep the necklace, to fold it up in the handker- 
chief, and rise to put it in her tiAcessaire, where 
she had first placed it when it had been returned 
to her, was more peculiar, and what would be 
called less reasonable. It came from that streak 
of superstition in her which attached itself both 
to her confidence and her terror — a superstition 
which lingers in an intense personality even in 
spite of theory and science ; any dread or hope for 
self being stronger than all reasons for or against 
it. Why she should suddenly determine not to 
part with the necklace was not much clearer to 
her than why she should sometimes have been 
frightened to find herself in the fields alone : she 
had a confused state of emotion about Deronda — 
was it wounded pride and resentment, or a certain 
awe and exceptional trust ? It was something 
vague and yet mastering, which impelled her to 
this action about the necklace. There is a great 
deal of unmapped country within us which would 
have to be taken into account in an explanation 
of our gusts and storms. 



How trace the why and wherefore in a mind reduced to the barrenness 
of a fastidious egoism, in which all direct desires are dulled, and have 
dwindled from motives into a vacillating expectation of motives : a mind 
made up of moods, where a fitful impulse springs here and there con- 
spicuously rank amid the general weediness ? 'Tis a condition apt to befall 
a life too much at large, unmoulded by the pressure of obligation. Nam 
(kteriores omnes sumus Ucentice, saith Terence ; or, as a more familiar 
tongue might deliver it, ' As you like ' is a bad finger-post. 

Potentates make known their intentions and 
affect the funds at a small expense of words. So, 
when Grandcourt, after learning that Gwendolen 
had left Leubronn, incidentally pronounced that 
resort of fashion a beastly hole worse than Baden, 
the remark was conclusive to Mr Lush that his 
patron intended straightway to return to Diplow. 
The execution was sure to be slower than the in- 
tention, and in fact Grandcourt did loiter through 
the next day without giving any distinct orders 
about departure — perhaps because he discerned 
that Lush was expecting them : he lingered over 
his toilet, and certainly came down with a faded 


aspect of perfect distinction which made fresh 
complexions, and hands with the blood in them, 
seem signs of raw vulgarity ; he lingered on the 
terrace, in the gambHng-rooms, in the reading- 
room, occupying himself in being indifferent to 
everybody and everything around him. When 
he met Lady Mallinger, however, he took some 
trouble — raised his hat, paused, and proved that 
he listened to her recommendation of the waters 
by replying, " Yes ; I heard somebody say how 
providential it was that there always happened to 
be springs at gambling places." 

" Oh, that was a joke," said innocent Lady Mal- 
linger, misled by Grandcourt's languid seriousness, 
" in imitation of the old one about the towns and 
the rivers, you know." 

"Ah, perhaps," said Grandcourt, without change 
of expression. Lady Mallinger thought this worth 
telling to Sir Hugo, who said, " Oh my dear, he is 
not a fool. You must not suppose that he can't 
see a joke. He can play his cards as well as most 
of us." 

" He has never seemed to me a very sensible 
man," said Lady Mallinger, in excuse of herself. 
She had a secret objection to meeting Grandcourt, 
who was little else to her than a large living sign 
of what she felt to be her failure as a wife — the 


not having presented Sir Hugo with a son. Her 
constant reflection was that her husband might 
fairly regret his choice, and if he had not been 
very good might have treated her with some 
roughness in consequence, gentlemen naturally 
disliking to be disappointed. 

Deronda, too, had a recognition from Grand- 
court, for which he was not grateful, though he 
took care to return it with perfect civility. No 
reasoning as to the foundations of custom could do 
away with the early-rooted feeling that his birth 
had been attended with injury for which his father 
was to blame ; and seeing that but for this injury 
Grand court's prospect might have been his, he 
was proudly resolute not to behave in any way 
that might be interpreted into irritation on that 
score. He saw a very easy descent into mean 
unreasoning rancour and triumph in others' frus- 
tration ; and being determined not to go down that ' 
ugly pit, he turned his back on it, clinging to the 
kindlier affections within him as a possession. 
Pride certainly helped him well — the pride of not 
recognising a disadvantage for one's self which 
vulgar minds are disposed to exaggerate, such as 
the shabby equipage of poverty: he would not 
have a man like Grandcourt suppose himself 
envied by him. But there is no guarding against 


interpretation. Grandcourt did believe that De- 
ronda, poor devil, who he had no doubt was his 
cousin by the father's side, inwardly winced under 
their mutual position ; wherefore the presence of 
that less lucky person was more agreeable to him 
than it would otherwise have been. An imaginary 
envy, the idea that others feel their comparative 
deficiency, is the ordinary cortege of egoism ; and 
his pet dogs were not the only beings that Grand- 
court liked to feel his power over in making them 
jealous. Hence he was civil enough to exchange 
several words with Deronda on the terrace about 
the hunting round Diplow, and even said, " You 
had better come over for a run or two when the 
season begins." 

Lush, not displeased with delay, amused him- 
self very well, partly in gossiping with Sir Hugo 
and in answering his questions about Grandcourt's 
•afiairs so far as they might affect his willingness 
to part with his interest in Diplow. Also about 
Grandcourt's personal entanglements, the baronet 
knew enough already for Lush to feel released 
from silence on a sunny autumn day, when there 
was nothing more agreeable to do in lounging 
promenades than to speak freely of a tyrannous 
patron behind his back. Sir Hugo willingly in- 
clined his ear to a little good-humoured scandal^ 


whicli he was fond of calling traits de mceurs ; but 
he was strict in keeping such communications 
from hearers who might take them too seriously. 
Whatever knowledge he had of his nephew's 
secrets, he had never spoken of it to Deronda, who 
considered Grandcourt a pale-blooded mortal, but 
was far from wishing to hear how the red cor- 
puscles had been washed out of him. It was 
Lush's policy and inclination to gratify everybody 
when he had no reason to the contrary; and the 
baronet always treated him well, as one of those 
easy -handled personages who, frequenting the 
society of gentlemen, without being exactly gen- 
tlemen themselves, can be the more serviceable, 
like the second-best articles of our wardrobe, 
which we use with a comfortable freedom from 

"Well, you will let me know the turn of 
events,'* said Sir Hugo, " if this marriage seems 
likely to come off after all, or if anything else 
happens to make the want of money more press- 
ing. My plan would be much better for him 
than burthening Eyelands." 

" That's true," said Lush, " only it must not be 
urged on him — just placed in his way that the 
scent may tickle him. Grandcourt is not a man 
to be always led by what makes for his own 


interest; especially if you let him see that it 
makes for your interest too. I'm attached to him, 
of course. I've given up everything else for the 
sake of keeping by him, and it has lasted a good 
fifteen years now. He would not easily get any 
one else to fill my place. He's a peculiar char- 
acter, is Henleigh Grandcourt, and it has been 
growing on him of late years. However, I'm of a 
constant disposition, and I've been a sort of guar- 
dian to him since he was twenty : an uncommonly 
fascinating fellow he was then, to be sure — and 
could be now, if he liked. I'm attached to him ; 
and it would be a good deal worse for him if he 
missed me at his elbow." 

Sir Hugo did not think it needful to express 
his sympathy or even assent, and perhaps Lush 
himself did not expect this sketch of his motives 
to be taken as exact. But how can a man avoid 
himself as a subject in conversation? And he 
must make some sort of decent toilet in words, 
as in cloth and linen. Lush's listener was not 
severe : a member of Parliament could allow for 
the necessities of verbal toilet ; and the dialogue 
went on without any change of mutual estimate. 

However, Lush's easy prospect of indefinite 
procrastination was cut off the next morning by 
Grandcourt's saluting him with the question — 


" Are you making all the arrangements for our 
starting by the Paris train ? " 

" I didn't know you meant to start," said Lush, 
not exactly taken by surprise. 

"You might have known," said Grandcourt, 
looking at the burnt length of his cigar, and speak- 
ing in that lowered tone which was usual with 
him when he meant to express disgust and be 
peremptory. " Just see to everything, will you ? 
and mind no brute gets into the same carriage 
with us. And leave my P. P.O. at the Mallingers." 

In consequence they were at Paris the next day; 
but here Lush was gratified by the proposal or 
command that he should go straight on to Diplow 
and see that everything was right, while Grand- 
court and the valet remained behind ; and it was 
not until several days later that Lush received the 
telegram ordering the carriage to the Wancester 

He had used the interim actively, not only in 
carrjdng out Grandcourt's orders about the stud 
and household, but in learning all he could of 
Gwendolen, and how things were going on at 
Offendene. What was the probable effect that 
the news of the family misfortunes would have 
on Grandcourt's fitful obstinacy he felt to be quite 
incalculable. So far as the girl's poverty might 


be an argument that she would accept an offer 
from him now in spite of any previous coyness, 
it might remove that bitter objection to risk a 
repulse which Lush divined to be one of Grand- 
court's deterring motives ; on the other hand, the 
certainty of acceptance was just "the sort of 
thing " to make him lapse hither and thither with 
no more apparent will than a moth. Lush had 
had his patron under close observation for many 
years, and knew him perhaps better than he knew 
any other subject ; but to know Grandcourt was 
to doubt what he would do in any particular case. 
It might happen that he would behave with an 
apparent magnanimity, like the hero of a modern 
French drama, whose sudden start into moral 
splendour after much lying and meanness, leaves 
you little confidence as to any part of his career 
that may follow the fall of the curtain. Indeed, 
what attitude would have been more honourable 
for a final scene than that of declining to seek an 
heiress for her money, and determining to marry 
the attractive girl who had none 1 But Lush had 
some general certainties about Grandcourt, and 
one was, that of all inward movements those of 
generosity were the least likely to occur in him. 
Of what use, however, is a general certainty that 
an insect will not walk with his head hindmost, 


when what you need to know is the play of in- 
ward stimulus that sends him hither and thither 
in a network of possible paths? Thus Lush 
was much at fault as to the probable issue be- 
tween Grandcourt and Gwendolen, when what he 
desired was a perfect confidence that they would 
never be married. He would have consented 
willingly that Grandcourt should marry an heiress, 
or that he should marry Mrs Glasher : in the one 
match there would have been the immediate 
abundance that prospective heirship could not 
supply, in the other there would have been the 
security of the wife's gratitude, for Lush had 
always been Mrs Glasher's friend; and that the 
future Mrs Grandcourt should not be socially 
received could not affect his private comfort. He 
would not have minded, either, that there should 
be no marriage in question at all; but he felt 
himself justified in doing his utmost to hinder a 
marriage with a girl who was likely to bring 
nothing but trouble to her husband — not to 
speak of annoyance if not ultimate injury to her 
husband's old companion, whose future Mr Lush 
earnestly wished to make as easy as possible, con- 
sidering that he had well deserved such compensa- 
tion for leading a dog's life, though that of a dog 
who enjoyed many tastes undisturbed, and who 


profited by a large establishment. He wished for 
himself what he felt to be good, and was not 
conscious of wishing harm to any one else ; unless 
perhaps it were just now a little harm to the in- 
convenient and impertinent Gwendolen. But the 
easiest-humoured amateur of luxury and music, 
the toad-eater the least liable to nausea, must be 
expected to have his susceptibilities. And Mr 
Lush was accustomed to be treated by the world 
in general as an apt, agreeable fellow : he had 
not made up his mind to be insulted by more 
than one person. 

With this imperfect preparation of a war policy. 
Lush was awaiting Grandcourt's arrival, doing 
little more than wondering how the campaign 
would begin. The first day Grandcourt was 
much occupied with the stables, and amongst 
other things he ordered a groom to put a side- 
saddle on Criterion and let him review the horse's 
paces. This marked indication of purpose set 
Lush on considering over again whether he should 
incur the ticklish consequences of speaking first, 
while he was still sure that no compromisi^ig step 
had been taken ; and he rose the next morning 
almost resolved that if Grandcourt seemed in as 
good a humour as yesterday and entered at all 
into talk, he would let drop the interesting facts 


about Gwendolen and her family, just to see how 
they would work, and to get some guidance. But 
Grandcourt did not enter into talk, and in answer 
to a question even about his own convenience, no 
fish could have maintained a more unwinking 
silence. After he had read his letters he gave 
various orders to be executed or transmitted by 
Lush, and then thrust his shoulders towards that 
useful person, who accordingly rose to leave the 
room. But before he was out of the door, 
Grandcourt turned his head slightly and gave 
a broken languid " Oh.*' 

"What is it?" said Lush, who, it must have 
been observed, did not take his dusty puddings 
with a respectful air. 

" Shut the door, will you ? I can't speak into 
the corridor." 

Lush closed the door, came forward, and chose 
to sit down. 

After a little pause Grandcourt said, " Is Miss 
Harleth at Offendene?" He was quite certain 
that Lush had made it his business to inquire 
about her, and he had some pleasure in thinking 
that Lush did not want him to inquire. 

"Well, I hardly know," said Lush, carelessly. 
"The family's utterly done up. They and the 
Gascoignes too have lost all their money. It's 


owing to some rascally banking business. The 
poor mother hasn't a sou, it seems. She and 
the girls have to huddle themselves into a little 
cottage like a labourer's." 

"Don't lie to me, if you please," said Grand- 
court, in his lowest audible tone. "It's not 
amusing, and it answers no other purpose." 

'* What do you mean ? " said Lush, more nettled 
than was- common with him — the prospect before 
him being more than commonly disturbing. 

" Just tell me the truth, will you ? " 

" It's no invention of mine. I have heard the 
story from several — Bazley, Brackenshaw's man, 
for one. He is getting a new tenant for Offendene." 

" I don't mean that. Is Miss Harleth there, or 
is she not ? " said Grandcourt, in his former tone. 

" Upon my soul, I can't tell," said Lush, rather 
sulkily. " She may have left yesterday. I heard 
she had taken a situation as governess ; she may 
be gone to it for what I know. But if you want- 
ed to see her, no doubt the mother would send 
for her back." This sneer slipped off his tongue 
without strict intention. 

"Send Hutchins to inquire whether she will 
be there to-morrow." 

Lush did not move. Like many persons who 
have thought over beforehand what they shall say 


in given cases, lie was impelled by an unexpected 
irritation to say some of those prearranged things 
before the cases were given. Grandcourt, in fact, 
was likely to get into a scrape so tremendous, that 
it was impossible to let him take the first step 
towards it without remonstrance. Lush retained 
enough caution to use a tone of rational friendli- 
ness ; still he felt his own value to his. patron, and 
was prepared to be daring. 

"It would be as well for you to remember, 
Grandcourt, that you are coming under closer fire 
now. There can be none of the ordinary flirting 
done, which may mean everything or nothing. 
You must make up your mind whether you wish 
to be accepted; and more than that, how you 
would like being refused. Either one or the other. 
You can't be philandering after her again for six 

Grandcourt said nothing, but pressed the news- 
paper down on his knees and began to light another 
cigar. Lush took this as a sign that he was 
willing to listen, and was the more bent on using 
the opportunity ; he wanted if possible to find 
out which would be the more potent cause of hesi- 
tation — probable acceptance or probable refusal. 

" Everything has a more serious look now than 
it had before. There is her family to be provided 


for. You could not let your wife's mother live in 
beggary. It will be a confoundedly hampering 
affair. Marriage will pin you down in a way you 
haven*t been used to ; and in point of money you 
have not too much elbow-room. And after all, 
what will you get by it ? You are master over 
your estates, present or future, as far as choosing 
your heir goes ; it's a pity to go on encumbering 
them for a mere whim, which you may repent of 
in a twelvemonth. I should be sorry to see you 
making a mess of your life in that way. If there 
were anything solid to be gained by the marriage, 
that would be a different affair." 

Lush's tone had gradually become more and 
more unctuous in its friendliness of remonstrance, 
and he was almost in danger of forgetting that he 
was merely gambling in argument. When he left 
off, Grandcourt took his cigar out of his mouth, 
and looking steadily at the moist end while he 
adjusted the leaf with his delicate finger-tips, said, 

" I knew before that you had an objection to 
my marrying Miss Harleth." Here he made a 
little pause, before he continued, "But I never 
considered that a reason against it." 

"I never supposed you did," answered Lush, 
not unctuously, but drily. "It was not that I 
urged as a reason. I should have thought it 


might have been a reason against it, after all your 
experience, that you would be acting like the hero 
of a ballad, and making yourself absurd — and all 
for what ? You know you couldn't make up your 
mind before. It's impossible you can care much 
about her. And as for the tricks she is likely to 
play, you may judge of that from what you heard 
at Leubronn. However, what I wished to point 
out to you was, that there can be no shilly-shally 

" Perfectly," said Grandcourt, looking round at 
Lush and fixing him with narrow eyes ; " I don't 
intend that there should be. I daresay it's dis- 
agreeable to you. But if you suppose I care a 
damn for that, you are most stupendously mis- 

" Oh, well," said Lush, rising with his hands in 
his pockets, and feeling some latent venom still 
within him, " if you have made up your mind ! — 
only there's another aspect of the affair. I have 
been speaking on the supposition that it was 
absolutely certain she would accept you, and that 
destitution would have no choice. But I am not 
so sure that the young lady is to be counted on. 
She is kittle cattle to shoe, I think. And she had 
her reasons for running away before." Lush had 
moved a step or two till he stood nearly in front 


of Grandcourt, though at some distance from him. 
He did not feel himself much restrained by con- 
sequences, being aware that the only strong hold 
he had on his present position was his serviceable- 
ness ; and even after a quarrel, the want of him 
was likely sooner or later to recur. He foresaw 
that Gwendolen would cause him to be ousted for 
a time, and his temper at this moment urged him 
to risk a quarrel. 

" She had her reasons," he repeated, more sig- 

"I had come to that conclusion before," said 
Grandcourt, with contemptuous irony. 

" Yes, but I hardly think you know what her 
reasons were." 

" You do, apparently," said Grandcourt, not 
betraying by so much as an eyelash that he cared 
for the reasons. 

" Yes, and you had better know too, that you 
may judge of the influence you have over her, if 
she swallows her reasons and accepts you. For 
my own part, I would take odds against it. She 
saw Lydia in Cardell Chase and heard the whole 

Grandcourt made no immediate answer, and 
only went on smoking. He was so long before 
he spoke, that Lush moved about and looked out 


of the windows, unwilling to go away without 
seeing some effect of his daring move. He had 
expected that Grandcourt would tax him with 
having contrived the affair, since Mrs Glasher 
was then living at Gadsmere a hundred miles 
off, and he was prepared to admit the fact : what 
he cared about was that Grandcourt should be 
staggered by the sense that his intended advances 
must be made to a girl who had that knowledge 
in her mind and had been scared by it. At 
length Grandcourt, seeing Lush turn towards him, 
looked at him again and said, contemptuously, 

Here certainly was a "mate" in answer to 
Lush's " check ; " and though his exasperation with 
Grandcourt was perhaps stronger than it had ever 
been before, it would have been mere idiocy to 
act as if any further move could be useful. He 
gave a slight shrug with one shoulder and was 
going to walk away, when Grandcourt, turning on 
his seat towards the table, said, as quietly as if 
nothing had occurred, "Oblige me by pushing 
that pen and paper here, will you ? " 

No thunderous, bulljdng superior could have 
exercised the imperious spell that Grandcourt 
did. Why, instead of being obeyed, he had never 
been told to go to a warmer place, was perhaps a 


mystery to several who found themselves obeying 
him. The pen and paper were pushed to him, 
and as he took them he said, " Just wait for this 

He scrawled with ease, and the brief note was 
quickly addressed. " Let Hutchins go with it at 
once, will you?" said Grandcourt, pushing the 
letter away from him. 

As Lush had expected, it was addressed to Miss 
Harleth, Ofifendene. When his irritation had 
cooled down he was glad there had been no 
explosive quarrel ; but he felt sure that there was 
a notch made against him, and that somehow or 
other he was intended to pay. It was also clear 
to him that the immediate effect of his revelation 
had been to harden Grandcourt's previous deter- 
mination. But as to the particular movements 
which made this process in his baffling mind, 
Lush could only toss up his chin in despair of 
a theory. 



He brings white asses laden with the freight 
Of Tyrian vessels, purple, gold, and balm. 
To bribe my will: I'll bid them chase him forth. 
Nor let him breathe the taint of his surmise 
On my secure resolve. 

Ay, 'tis secure ; 
And therefore let him come to spread his freight. 
For firmness hath its appetite and craves 
The stronger lure, more strongly to resist ; 
Would know the touch of gold to fling it off; 
Scent wine to feel its lip the soberer ; 
Behold soft byssus, ivory, and plumes 
To say, "They're fair, but I wiU none of them," 
And flout Enticement in the very face. 

Mr Gascoigne one day came to Offendene with 
what he felt to be the satisfactory news that 
Mrs Mompert had fixed Tuesday in the follow- 
ing week for her interview with Gwendolen at 
Wancester. He said nothing of his having inci- 
dentally heard that Mr Grandcourt had returned 
to Diplow ; knowing no more than she did that 
Leubronn had been the goal of her admirer's 
journeying, and feeling that it would be unkind 


uselessly to revive the memory of a brilliant 
prospect under the present reverses. In his secret 
soul he thought of his niece's unintelligible ca- 
price with regret, but he vindicated her to himself 
by considering that Grandcourt had been the first 
to behave oddly, in suddenly walking away when 
there had been the best opportunity for crowning 
his marked attentions. The Eector's practical 
judgment told- him that his chief duty to his niece 
now was to encourage her resolutely to face the 
change in her lot, since there was no manifest 
promise of any event that would avert it. 

" You will find an interest in varied experience, 
my dear, and I have no doubt you will be a more 
valuable woman for having sustained such a part 
as you are called to." 

" I cannot pretend to believe that I shall like 
it," said Gwendolen, for the first time showing her 
uncle some petulance. "But I am quite aware 
that I am obliged to bear it." 

She remembered having submitted to his ad- 
monition on a different occasion, when she was 
expected to like a very different prospect. 

" And your good sense will teach you to behave 
suitably under it," said Mr Gascoigne, with a 
shade more gravity. *' I feel sure that Mrs Mom- 
pert will be pleased with you. You will know 


how to conduct yourself to a woman who holds in 
all senses the relation of superior to you. This 
trouble has come on you young, but that makes it 
in some respects easier, and there is benefit in all 
chastisement if we adjust our minds to it." 

This was precisely what Gwendolen was unable 
to do; and after her uncle was gone, the bitter tears, 
which had rarely come during the late trouble, rose 
and fell slowly as she sat alone. Her heart denied 
that the trouble was easier because she was young. 
When was she to have any happiness, if it did 
not come while she was young? Not that her 
visions of possible happiness for herself were as 
unmixed with necessary evil as they used to be — 
not that she could still imagine herself plucking 
the fruits of life without suspicion of their core. 
But this general disenchantment with the world — 
nay, with herself, since it appeared that she was 
not made for easy pre-eminence — only intensi- 
fied her sense of forlornness : it was a visibly 
sterile distance enclosing the dreary path at her 
feet, in which she had no courage to tread. She 
was in that first crisis of passionate youthful re- 
bellion against what is not fitly called pain, but 
rather the absence of joy — that first rage of dis- 
appointment in life's morning, which we whom the 
years have subdued are apt to remember but dimly 


as part of our own experience, and so to be in- 
tolerant of its self-enclosed unreasonableness and 
impiety. What passion seems more absurd, when 
we have got outside it and looked at calamity as 
a collective risk, than this amazed anguish that 
I and not Thou, He,, or She, should be just the 
smitten one ? Yet perhaps some who have after- 
wards made themselves a willing fence before the 
breast of another, and have carried their own 
heart -wound in heroic silence — some who have 
made their latter deeds great, nevertheless began 
with this angry amazement at their own smart, 
and on the mere denial of their fantastic desires 
raged as if under the sting of wasps which reduced 
the universe for them to an unjust infliction of 
pain. This was nearly poor Gwendolen's condi- 
tion. What though such a reverse as hers had 
often happened to other girls ? The one point she 
had been all her life learning to care for was, 
that it had happened to her : it was what she felt 
under Klesmer's demonstration that she was not 
remarkable enough to command fortune by force 
of wUl and merit; it was what she would feel 
under the rigours of Mrs Mompert's constant ex- 
pectation, under the dull demand that she should 
be cheerful with three Miss Momperts, under the 
necessity of showing herself entirely submissive, 


and keeping her thoughts to herself. To be a 
queen disthroned is not so hard as some other 
down-stepping : imagine one who had been made 
to believe in his own divinity finding all homage 
withdrawn, and himself unable to perform a 
miracle that would recall the homage and restore 
his own confidence. Something akin to this illu- 
sion and this helplessness had befallen the poor 
spoiled child, with the lovely Kps and eyes and 
the majestic figure — ^which seemed now to have 
no magic in them. 

She rose from the low ottoman where she had 
been sitting purposeless, and walked up and down 
the drawing-room, resting her elbow on one 
palm while she leaned down her cheek on the 
other, and a slow tear fell. She thought, " I have 
always, ever since I was little, felt that mamma 
was not a happy woman ; and now I daresay I 
shall be more unhappy than she has been." Her 
mind dwelt for a few moments on the picture of 
herself losing her youth and ceasing to enjoy — 
not minding whether she did this or that : but 
such picturing inevitably brought back the image 
of her mother. " Poor mamma ! it will be still 
worse for her now. I can get a little money for 
her — ^that is all I shall care about now." And then 
with an entirely new movement of her imagina- 


tion, she saw her mother getting quite old and 
white, and herself no longer young but faded, and 
their two faces meeting still with memory and 
love, and she knowing what was in her mother's 
mind — "Poor Gwen too is sad and faded now" — 
and then for the first time she sobbed, not in anger 
but with a sort of tender misery. 

Her face was towards the door and she saw her 
mother enter. She barely saw that ; for her eyes 
were large with tears, and she pressed her hand- 
kerchief against them hurriedly. Before she took 
it away she felt her mother's arms round her, and 
this sensation, which seemed a prolongation of her 
inward vision, overcame her will to be reticent : 
she sobbed anew in spite of herself, as they pressed 
their cheeks together. 

Mrs Davilow had brought something in her 
hand which had already caused her an agitating 
anxiety, and she dared not speak until her darling 
had become calmer. But Gwendolen, with whom 
weeping had always been a painful manifestation 
to be resisted if possible, again pressed her hand- 
kerchief against her eyes, and with a deep breath 
drew her head backward and looked at her mother, 
who was pale and tremulous. 

"It was nothing, mamma," said Gwendolen, 
thinking that her mother had been moved in this 

VOL. 11. L 


way simply by finding her in distress. " It is all 
over now." 

But Mrs Davilow had withdrawn her arms, and 
Gwendolen perceived a letter in her hand. 

"What is that letter? — worse news still?" she 
asked, with a touch of bitterness. 

" I don't know what you will think it, dear," 
said Mrs Davilow, keeping the letter in her hand. 
" You will hardly guess where it comes from." 

" Don't ask me to guess anything," said Gwen- 
dolen, rather impatiently, as if a bruise were being 

" It is addressed to you, dear." 

Gwendolen gave the slightest perceptible toss 
of the head. 

"It comes from Diplow," said Mrs Davilow, 
giving her the letter. 

She knew Grandcourt's indistinct handwriting, 
and her mother was not surprised to see her blush 
deeply; but watching her as she read, and wonder- 
ing much what was the purport of the letter, she 
saw the colour die out. Gwendolen's lips even 
were pale as she turned the open note towards 
her mother. The words were few and formal. 

" Mr Grandcourt presents his compliments to 
Miss Harleth, and begs to know whether he may 


be permitted to call at Offendene to-morrow after 
two, and to see her alone. Mr Grandcourt has 
just returned from Leubronn, where he had hoped 
to find Miss Harleth." 

Mrs Davilow read, and then looked at her 
daughter inquiringly, leaving the note in her 
hand. Gwendolen let it fall on the floor, and 
turned away. 

" It must be answered, darling," said Mrs 
Davilow, timidly. " The man waits." 

Gwendolen sank on the settee, clasped her 
hands, and looked straight before her, not at her 
mother. She had the expression of one who had 
been startled by a sound and was listening to 
know what would come of it. The sudden change 
of the situation was bewildering. A few minutes 
before she was looking along an inescapable path 
of repulsive monotony, with hopeless inward re- 
bellion against the imperious lot which left her 
no choice : and lo, now, a moment of choice was 
come. Yet — was it triumph she felt most or 
terror? Impossible for Gwendolen not to feel 
some triumph in a tribute to her power at a time 
when she was first tasting the bitterness of insig- 
nificance : again she seemed to be getting a sort 
of empire over her own life. But how to use it ? 


Here came the terror. Quick, quick, like pictures 
in a book beaten open with a sense of hurry, came 
back vividly, yet in fragments, all that she had gone 
through in relation to Grandcourt — the allure- 
ments, the vacillations, the resolve to accede, the 
final repulsion; the incisive face of that dark- 
eyed lady with the lovely boy ; her own pledge 
(was it a pledge not to marry him ? ) — ^the new 
disbelief in the worth of men and things for which 
that scene of disclosure had become a symbol. 
That unalterable experience made a vision at 
which in the first agitated moment, before tem- 
pering reflections could suggest themselves, her 
native terror shrank. 

Where was the good of choice coming again ? 
What did she wish ? Anything different ? No ! 
and yet in the dark seed-growths of conscious- 
ness a new wish was forming itself — ''I wish I 
had never known it ! " Something, anything she 
wished for that would have saved her from the 
dread to let Grandcourt come. 

It was no long while — yet it seemed long to 
Mrs Davilow, before she thought it well to say, 

"It will be necessary for you to write, dear. 
Or shall I write an answer for you — which you 
will dictate?" 


" No, mamma," said Gwendolen, drawing a deep 
breath. "But please lay me out the pen and 

That was gaining time. Was she to decline 
Grandcourt's visit — close the shutters — not even 
look out on what would happen? — though with 
the assurance that she should remain just where 
she was ? The young activity within her made a 
warm current through her terror and stirred to- 
wards something that would be an event — towards 
an opportunity in which she could look and speak 
with the former effectiveness. The interest of the 
morrow was no longer at a dead-lock. 

" There is really no reason on earth why you 
should be so alarmed at the man's waiting a few 
minutes, mamma," said Gwendolen, remonstrantly, 
as Mrs Davilow, having prepared the writing ma- 
terials, looked towards her expectantly. "Ser- 
vants expect nothing else than to wait. It is not 
to be supposed that I must write on the instant." 

"No, dear," said Mrs Davilow, in the tone of 
one corrected, turning to sit down and take up a 
bit of work that lay at hand ; " he can wait another 
quarter of an hour, if you like." 

It was very simple speech and action on her 
part, but it was what might have been subtly cal- 
culated. Gwendolen felt a contradictory desire 


to be hastened: hurry would save her from de- 
liberate choice. 

" I did not mean him to wait long enough for 
that needlework to be finished," she said, lifting 
her hands to stroke the backward curves of her 
hair, while she rose from her seat and stood still. 

"But if you don't feel able to decide?" said 
Mrs Davilow, sympathisingly. 

"I must decide," said Gwendolen, walking to 
the writing-table and seating herself. All the 
while there was a busy undercurrent in her, like 
the thought of a man who keeps up a dialogue 
while he is considering how he can slip away. 
Why should she not let him come ? It bound her 
to nothing. He had been to Leubronn after her ; 
of course he meant a direct unmistakable re^ 
newal of the suit which before had been only im- 
plied. What then? She could reject him. Why 
was she to deny herseK the freedom of doing this 
— which she would like to do ? 

" If Mr Grandcourt has only just returned from 
Leubronn," said Mrs Davilow, observing that 
Gwendolen leaned back in her chair after taking 
the pen in her hand — " I wonder whether he has 
heard of our misfortunes." 

" That could make no difference to a man in his 
position," said Gwendolen, rather contemptuously. 


"It would, to some men," said Mrs Davilow. 
" They would not like to take a wife from a family 
in a state of beggary almost, as we are. Here we 
are at Offendene with a great shell over us as 
usual. But just imagine his finding us at Saw- 
yer's Cottage. Most men are afraid of being bored 
or taxed by a wife's family. If Mr Grandcourt 
did know, I think it a strong proof of his^ attach- 
ment to you." . 

Mrs Davilow spoke with unusual emphasis : it 
was the first time she had ventured to say any- 
thing about Grandcourt which would necessarily 
seem intended as an argument in favour of him, 
her habitual impression being that such argu- 
ments would certainly be useless and might be 
worse. The effect of her words now was stronger 
than she could imagine : they raised a new set of 
possibilities in Gwendolen's mind — a vision of 
what Grandcourt might do for her mother if she, 
Gwendolen, did — what she was not going to do. 
She was so moved by a new rush of ideas, that 
like one conscious of being urgently called away, 
she felt that the immediate task must be hastened : 
the letter must be written, else it might be end- 
lessly deferred. After aU, she acted in a hurry as 
she had wished to do. To act in a hurry was to 
have a reason for keeping away from an absolute 


decision, and to leave open as many issues as 

She wrote : " Miss Harleth presents her compli- 
ments to Mr Grandcourt. She will be at home 
after two o'clock to-morrow." 

Before addressing the note she said, '' Pray ring 
the bell, mamma, if there is any one to answer it.'- 
She really did not know who did the work of the 

It was not till after the letter had been taken 
away and Gwendolen had risen again, stretching 
out one arm and then resting it on her head, with 
a long moan which had a sound of relief in it, that 
Mrs Davilow ventured to ask — 

" What did you say, Gwen ? " 

" I said that I should be at home," answered 
Gwendolen, rather loftily. Then, after a pause, 
"You must not expect, because Mr Grandcourt 
is coming, that anything is going to happen, 

" I don't allow myself to expect anything, dear. 
I desire you to follow your own feeling. You 
have never told me what that was." 

" What is the use of telling ? " said Gwendolen, 
hearing a reproach in that true statement. 
"When I have anything pleasant to tell, you 
may be sure I will tell you." 


" But Mr Grandcourt will consider that you have 
already accepted him, in allowing him to come. 
His note tells you plainly enough that he is 
coming to make you an offer." 

" Very well ; and I wish to have the pleasure 
of refusing him." 

Mrs Davilow looked up in wonderment, but 
Gwendolen implied her wish not to be questioned 
further by saying — 

" Put down that detestable needlework, and let 
us walk in the avenue. I am stifled." 



Desire has trimmed the sails, and Circumstance 
Brings but the breeze to fill them. 

While Grandcourt on his beautiful black Yarico, 
the groom behind him on Criterion, was taking 
the pleasant ride from Diplow to Offendene, 
Gwendolen was seated before the mirror while 
her mother gathered up the lengthy mass of 
light-brown hair which she had been carefully 

"Only gather it up easily and make a coil, 
mamma," said Gwendolen. 

" Let me bring you some earrings, Gwen/' said 
Mrs Davilow, when the hair was adjusted, and they 
were both looking at the reflection in the glass. It 
was impossible for them not to notice that the eyes 
looked brighter than they had done of late, that 
there seemed to be a shadow lifted from the face, 
leaving all the lines once more in their placid 
youthfulness. The mother drew some inferences 


that made her voice rather cheerful. "You do 
want your earrings ? " 

" No, mamma ; I shall not wear any ornaments, 
and I shall put on my black silk. Black is the 
only wear when one is going to refuse an offer," 
said Gwendolen, with one of her old smiles at her 
mother, while she rose to throw off her dressing- 

" Suppose the offer is not made after all," said 
Mrs Davilow, not without a sly intention. 

" Then that will be because I refuse it before- 
hand," said Gwendolen. " It comes to the same 

There was a proud little toss of her head as she 
said this ; and when she walked down-stairs in her 
long black robes, there was just that firm poise of 
head and elasticity of form which had lately been 
missing, as in a parched plant. Her mother 
thought, " She is quite herself again. It must be 
pleasure in his coming. Can her mind be really 
made up against him ? " 

Gwendolen would have been rather angry if 
that thought had been uttered; perhaps aU the 
more because through the last twenty hours, with 
a brief interruption of sleep, she had been so occu- 
pied with perpetually alternating images and argu- 
ments for and against the possibility of her marry- 


ing Grandcourt, that the conclusion which she had 
determined on beforehand ceased to have any hold 
on her consciousness : the alternate dip of counter- 
balancing thoughts begotten of counterbalancing 
desires had brought her into a state in which no 
conclusion could look fixed to her. She would 
have expressed her resolve as before ; but it was a 
form out of which the blood had been sucked — no 
more a part of quivering life than the " God's will 
be done " of one who is eagerly watching chances. 
She did not mean to accept Grandcourt ; from the 
first moment of receiving his letter she had meant 
to refuse him ; still, that could not but prompt her 
to look the unwelcome reasons full in the face 
until she had a little less awe of them, could not 
hinder her imagination from filling out her know- 
ledge in various ways, some of which seemed to 
change the aspect of what she knew. By dint of 
looking at a dubious object with a constructive 
imagination, one can give it twenty different 
shapes. Her indistinct grounds of hesitation 
before the interview at the Whispering Stones, 
at present counted for nothing; they were all 
merged in the final repulsion. If it had not been 
for that day in Cardell Chase, she said to herself 
now, there would have been no obstacle to her 
marrying Grandcourt. On that day and after it. 


she had not reasoned and balanced : she had acted 
with a force of impulse against which all question- 
ing was no more than a voice against a torrent. 
The impulse had come — not only from her maid- 
enly pride and jealousy, not only from the shock 
of another woman's calamity thrust close on her 
vision, but — from her dread of wrong- doing, which 
was vague, it is true, and aloof from the daily de- 
tails of her life, but not the less strong. What- 
ever was accepted as consistent with being a lady 
she had no scruple about ; but from the dim region 
of what was called disgraceful, wrong, guilty, she 
shrank with mingled pride and terror ; and even 
apart from shame, her feeling would have made 
her place any deliberate injury of another in the 
region of guilt. 

But now — did she know exactly what was the 
state of the case with regard to Mrs Glasher and her 
children ? She had given a sort of promise — had 
said, " I will not interfere with your wishes." But 
would another woman who married Grandcourt be 
in fact the decisive obstacle to her wishes, or be 
doing her and her boy any real injury ? Might it 
not be just as well, nay better, that Grandcourt 
should marry ? For what could not a woman do 
when she was married, if she knew how to assert 
herself ? Here all was constructive imagination. 


Gwendolen had about as accurate a conception of 
marriage — that is to say, of the mutual influences, 
demands, duties of man and woman in the state 
of matrimony — as she had of magnetic currents 
and the law of storms. 

"Mamma managed badly," was her way of 
summing up what she had seen of her mother's 
experience: she herself would manage quite dif- 
ferently. And the trials of matrimony were the 
last theme into which Mrs Davilow could choose 
to enter fully with this daughter. 

" I wonder what mamma and my uncle would 
say if they knew about Mrs Glasher!" thought 
Gwendolen, in her inward debating ; not that she 
could imagine herself telling them, even if she had 
not felt bound to silence. " I wonder what any- 
body would say ; or what they would say to Mr 
Grandcourt's marrying some one else and having 
other children!" To consider what "anybody" 
would say, was to be released from the difficulty 
of judging where everything was obscure to hei 
when feeling had ceased to be decisive. She had 
only to collect her memories, which proved to her 
that " anybody " regarded illegitimate children as 
more rightfully to be looked shy on and deprived 
of social advantages than illegitimate fathers. The 
verdict of " anybody " seemed to be that she had 


no reason to concern herself greatly on behalf of 
Mrs Glasher and her children. 

But there was another way in which they had 
caused her concern. What others might think, 
could not do away with a feeling which in the 
first instance would hardly be too strongly de- 
scribed as indignation and loathing that she should 
have been expected to unite herself with an out- 
worn life, full of backward secrets which must 
have been more keenly felt than any associations 
with her. True, the question of love on her own 
part had occupied her scarcely at all in relation to 
Grandcourt. The desirability of marriage for her 
had always seemed due to other feelings than love ; 
and to be enamoured was the part of the man, on 
whom the advances depended. Gwendolen had 
found no objection to Grandcourt's way of being 
enamoured before she had had that glimpse of his 
past, which she resented as if it had been a delib- 
erate offence against her. His advances to Tier 
were deliberate, and she felt a retrospective dis- 
gust for them. Perhaps other men's lives were of 
the same kind — full of secrets which made the 
ignorant suppositions of the woman they wanted 
to marry a farce at which they were laughing in 
their sleeves. 

These feelings of disgust and indignation had 


sunk deep ; and though other troublous experience 
in the last weeks had dulled them from passion 
into remembrance, it was chiefly their reverber- 
ating activity which kept her firm to the under- 
standing with herself, that she was not going to 
accept Grandcourt. She had never meant to form 
a new determination; she had only been con- 
sidering what might be thought or said. If any- 
thing could have induced her to change, it would 
have been the prospect of making all things easy 
for ''poor mamma:" that, she admitted, was a 
temptation. But no ! she was going to refuse 
him. Meanwhile, the thought that he was com- 
ing to be refused was inspiriting: she had the 
white reins in her hands again ; there was a new 
current in her frame, reviving her from the beaten- 
down consciousness in which she had been left by 
the interview with Klesmer. She was not now 
going to crave an opinion of her capabilities ; she 
was going to exercise her power. 

Was this what made her heart palpitate annoy- 
ingly when she heard the horse's footsteps on the 
gravel ? — when Miss Merry, who opened the door 
to Grandcourt, came to tell her that he was in the 
drawing-room ? The hours of preparation and the 
triumph of the situation were apparently of no use : 
she might as well have seen Grandcourt coming 


suddenly on her in the midst of her despondency. 
While walking into the drawing-room she had to 
concentrate all her energy in that self-control which 
made her appear gravely gracious as she gave her 
hand to him, and answered his hope that she was 
quite well in a voice as low and languid as his own. 
A moment afterwards, when they were both of 
them seated on two of the wreath-painted chairs — 
Gwendolen upright with downcast eyelids. Grand- 
court about two yards distant, leaning one arm over 
the back of his chair and looking at her, while he 
held his hat in his left hand — any one seeing 
them as a picture would have concluded that they 
were in some stage of love-making suspense. And 
certainly the love-making had begun : she already 
felt herself being wooed by this silent man seated 
at an agreeable distance, with the subtlest atmos- 
phere of atta of roses and an attention bent wholly 
on her. And he also considered himself to be woo- 
ing : he was not a man to suppose that his presence 
carried no consequences ; and he was exactly the 
man to feel the utmost piquancy in a girl whom he 
had not found quite calculable. 

" I was disappointed not to find you at Leu- 
bronn," he began, his usual broken drawl having 
just a shade of amorous languor in it. "The 

VOL. U. M 


place was intolerable without you. A mere ken- 
nel of a place. Don't you think so ? " 

" I can't judge what it would be without myself," 
said Gwendolen, turning her eyes on him, with 
some recovered sense of mischief. " With myself 
I liked it well enough to have stayed longer, if I 
could. But I was obliged to come home on account 
of family troubles." 

" It was very cruel of you to go to Leubronn," 
said Grandcourt, taking no notice of the troubles, 
on which Gwendolen — she hardly knew why — 
wished that there should be a clear understanding 
at once. " You must have known that it would 
spoil everything : you knew you were the heart 
and soul of everything that went on. Are you 
quite reckless about me ? " 

It was impossible to say " yes " in a tone that 
would be taken seriously ; equally impossible to 
say " no " ; but what else could she say ? In her 
difficulty, she turned down her eyelids again and 
blushed over face and neck. Grandcourt saw her 
in a new phase, and believed that she was showing 
her inclination. But he was determined that she 
should show it more decidedly. 

" Perhaps there is some deeper interest ? Some 
attraction — some engagement — which it would 


have been only fair to make me aware of? Is 
there any man who stands between us ? " 

Inwardly the answer framed itself, " No ; but 
there is a woman." Yet how could she utter this ? 
Even if she had not promised that woman to be 
silent, it would have been impossible for her to 
enter on the subject with Grandcourt. But how 
could she arrest this wooing by beginning to make 
a formal speech — " I perceive your intention — it 
is most flattering, &c." A fish honestly invited to 
come and be eaten has a clear course in declining, 
but how if it finds itself swimming against a net ? 
And apart from the network, would she have 
dared at once to say anything decisive ? Gwen- 
dolen had not time to be clear on that point. As 
it was, she felt compelled to silence, and after a 
pause, Grandcourt said — 

" Am I to understand that some one else is pre- 

Gwendolen, now impatient of her own embar- 
rassment, determined to rush at the difficulty 
and free herself. She raised her eyes again and 
said with something of her former clearness and 
defiance, "No" — wishing him to understand, 
" What then ? I may not be ready to take you" 
There was nothing that Grandcourt could not 


understand which he perceived likely to affect 
his amour propre. 

"The last thing I would do, is to impoitune 
you. I should not hope to win you by making 
myself a bore. If there were no hope for me, I 
would ask you to tell me so at once, that I might 
just ride away to — no matter where." 

Almost to her own astonishment, Gwendolen 
felt a sudden alarm at the image of Grandcourt 
finally riding away. What would be left her then ? 
Nothing but the former dreariness. She liked 
him to be there. She snatched at the subject that 
would defer any decisive answer. 

" I fear you are not aware of what has happened 
to us. I have lately had to think so much of my 
mamma's troubles, that other subjects have been 
quite thrown into the background. She has lost 
all her fortune, and we are going to leave this place. 
I must ask you to excuse my seeming preoccupied." 

In eluding a direct appeal Gwendolen recovered 
some of her self-possession. She spoke with dig- 
nity and looked straight at Grandcourt, whose long, 
narrow, inpenetrable eyes met hers, and mysteri- 
ously arrested them : mysteriously; for the subtly- 
varied drama between man and woman is often 
such as can hardly be rendered in words put to- 
gether like dominoes, according to obvious fixed 


marks. The word of all work Love will no more 
express the myriad modes of mutual attraction, 
than the word Thought can inform you what is 
passing through your neighbour's mind. It would 
be hard to tell on which side — Gwendolen's or 
Grandcourt's — the influence was more mixed. At 
that moment his strongest wish was to be com- 
pletely master of this creature — this piquant com- 
bination of maidenliness and mischief : that she 
knew things which had made her start away from 
him, spurred him to triumph over that repugnance ; 
and he was believing that he should triumph. 
And she — ah, piteous equality in the need to 
dominate ! — she was overcome like the thirsty one 
who is drawn towards the seeming water in the 
desert, overcome by the suffused sense that here 
in this man's homage to her lay the rescue from 
helpless subjection to an oppressive lot. 

All the while they were looking at each other ; 
and Grandcourt said, slowly and languidly, as if 
it were of no importance, other things having been 
settled — 

" You will tell me now, I hope, that Mrs Davi- 
low's loss of fortune will not trouble you further. 
You win trust to me to prevent it from weighing 
upon her. You will give me the claim to provide 
against that." 


The little pauses and refined drawliugs with 
which this speech was uttered, gave time for 
Gwendolen to go through the dream of a Ufa 
As the words penetrated her, they had the effect 
of a draught of wine, which suddenly makes all 
things easier, desirable things not so wrong, and 
people in general less disagreeable. She had a 
momentary phantasmal love for this man who 
chose his words so well, and who was a mere incar- 
nation of delicate homage. Eepugnance, dread, 
scruples — these were dim as remembered pains, 
while she was already tasting relief under the 
immediate pain of hopelessness. She imagined 
herself already springing to her mother, and being 
playful again. Yet when Grandcourt had ceased 
to speak, there was an instant in which she was 
conscious of being at the turning of the ways. 

" You are very generous," she said, not moving 
her eyes, and speaking with a gentle intonation. 

"You accept what will make such things a 
matter of course ? " said Grandcourt, without any 
new eagerness. "You consent to become my wife?" 

This time Gwendolen remained quite pale. 
Something made her rise from her seat in spite of 
herself, and walk to a little distance. Then she 
turned and with her hands folded before her 
stood in silence. 


Grandcourt immediately rose too, resting his 
hat on the chair, but still keeping hold of it. 
The evident hesitation of this destitute girl to 
take his splendid offer stung him into a keenness 
of interest such as he had not known for years. 
None the less because he attributed her hesitation 
entirely to her knowledge about Mrs Glasher. In 
that attitude of preparation, he said — 

" Do you command me to go ? " No familiar 
spirit could have suggested to him more effective 

" No," said Gwendolen. She could not let him 
go : that negative was a clutch. She seemed to 
herself to be, after all, only drifted towards the 
tremendous decision : — ^but drifting depends on 
something besides the currents, when the sails 
have been set beforehand. 

*' You accept my devotion ? " said Grandcourt, 
holding his hat by his side and looking straight 
into her eyes, without other movement. Their 
eyes meeting in that way seemed to allow any 
length of pause ; but wait as long as she would, 
how could she contradict herself? What had 
she detained him for? He had shut out any 

" Yes," came as gravely from Gwendolen's lips 
as if she had been answering to her name in a 


court of justice. He received it gravely, and they 
still looked at each other in the same attitude. 
Was there ever before such a way of accepting the 
bliss-giving " Yes " ? Grandcourt liked better to 
be at that distance from her, and to feel under a 
ceremony imposed by an indefinable prohibition 
that breathed from Gwendolen's bearing. 

But he did at length lay down his hat and 
advance to take her hand, just pressing his lips 
upon it and letting it go again. She thought his 
behaviour perfect, and gained a sense of freedom 
which made her almost ready to be mischievous. 
Her " Yes " entailed so little at this moment, that 
there was nothing to screen the reversal of her 
gloomy prospects : her vision was filled by her 
own release from the Momperts, and her mother's 
release from Sawyer's Cottage. With a happy 
curl of the lips, she said — 

"Will you not see mamma? I will fetch 

" Let us wait a little," said Grandcourt, in his 
favourite attitude, having his left forefinger and 
thumb in his waistcoat-pocket, and with his right 
caressing his whisker, while he stood near Gwen- 
dolen and looked at her — not unlike a gentleman 
who has a felicitous introduction at an evening 


" Have you anything else to say to me ? " said 
Gwendolen, playfully. 

" Yes. — I know having things said to you is a 
great bore," said Grandcourt, rather sympatheti- 

" Not when they are things I like to hear." 

" Will it bother you to be asked how soon we 
can be married ? " 

" I think it will, to-day," said Gwendolen, put- 
ting up her chin saucily. 

" Not to-day, then. But to-morrow. Think of 
it before I come to-morrow. In a fortnight — or 
three weeks — as soon as possible." 

" Ah, you think you will be tired of my com- 
pany," said Gwendolen. " I notice when people 
are married the husband is not so much with his 
wife as when they were engaged. But perhaps I 
shall like that better too." 

She laughed charmingly. 

" You shall have whatever you like," said 

" And nothing that I don't like ? — please say 
that ; because I think I dislike what I don't like 
more than I like what I like," said Gwendolen, 
finding herself in the woman's paradise where all 
her nonsense is adorable. 

Grandcourt paused : these were subtilties in 


which he had much experience of his own. "I 
don't know — this is such a brute of a world, things 
are always turning up that one doesn't like. I 
can't always hinder your being bored. If you like 
to hunt Criterion, I can't hinder his coming down 
by some chance or other." 

" Ah, my friend Criterion, how is he ? " 

" He is outside : I made the groom ride him, 
that you might see him. He had the side-saddle 
on for an hour or two yesterday. Come to the 
window and look at him." 

They could see the two horses being taken 
slowly round the sweep, and the beautiful crea- 
tures, in their fine grooming, sent a thrill of exult- 
ation through Gwendolen. They were the symbols 
of command and luxury, in delightful contrast 
with the ugliness of poverty and humiliation at 
which she had lately been looking close. 

" Will you ride Criterion to-morrow ? " said 
Grandcourt. " If you will, everything shall be 

" I should like it of all things," said Gwendolen. 
" I want to lose myself in a gallop again. But 
now I must go and fetch mamma." 

" Take my arm to the door, then," said Grand- 
court, and she accepted. Their faces were very 
near each other, being almost on a level, and he 


was lookiDg at her. She thought his manners as 
a lover more agreeable than any she had seen 
described. She had no alarm lest he meant to 
kiss her, and was so much at her ease, that she 
suddenly paused in the middle of the room and 
said, half-archly, half-earnestly — 

" Oh, while I think of it — there is something I 
dislike that you can save me from. I do not like 
Mr Lush's company." 

" You shall not have it. I'll get rid of him." 
" You are not fond of him yourself ? " 
"Not in the least. I let him hang on me 
because he has always been a poor devil," said 
Grandcourt, in an adagio of utter indifference. 
" They got him to travel with me when I was a 
lad. He was always that coarse-haired kind of 
brute — a sort of cross between a hog and a 

Gwendolen laughed. All that seemed kind and 
natural enough : Grandcourt's fastidiousness en- 
hanced the kindness. And when they reached 
the door, his way of opening it for her was the 
perfection of easy homage. Eeally, she thought, 
he was likely to be the least disagreeable of hus- 

Mrs Davilow was waiting anxiously in her bed- 
room when Gwendolen entered, stepped towards 


her quickly, and kissing her on both cheeks said 
in a low tone, " Come down, mamma, and see Mr 
Grandconrt. I am engaged to him." 

" My darling child ! " said Mrs Davilow, with a 
surprise that was rather solemn than glad. 

" Yes/' said Gwendolen, in the same tone, and 
with a quickness which implied that it was need- 
less to ask questions. "Everything is settled. 
You are not going to Sawyer's Cottage, I am not 
going to be inspected by Mrs Mompert, and 
everything is to be as I like. So come down 
with me immediately." 



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" II est plus aise de connoltre rhomme en general que de connottre un 
houune en particulier."— La Rochefoucauld. 

An hour after Grandcourt had left, the important 
news of Gwendolen's engagement was known at 
the Kectory, and Mr and Mrs Gascoigne, with 
Anna, spent the evening at Offendene. 

" My dear, let me congratulate you on having 
created a strong attachment," said the Kector. 
" You look serious, and I don't wonder at it : a life- 
long union is a solemn thing. But from the way 
Mr Grandcourt has acted and spoken I think we 
may already see some good arising out of our ad- 
versity. It has given you an opportunity of ob- 
serving your future husband's delicate liberality." 


Mr Gascoigne referred to Grandcourt's mode of 
implying that he would provide for Mrs Davilow — 
a part of the love-making which Gwendolen had 
remembered to cite to her mother with perfect 

"But I have no doubt that Mr Grandcourt 
would have behaved quite as handsomely if you had 
not gone away to Germany, Gwendolen, and had 
been engaged to him, as you no doubt might have 
been, more than a month ago," said Mrs Gascoigne, 
feeling that she had to discharge a duty on this 
occasion. " But now there is no more room for 
caprice ; indeed, I trust you have no inclination to 
any. A woman has a great debt of gratitude to a 
man who perseveres in making her such an offer. 
But no doubt you feel properly." 

" I am not at all sure that I do, aunt," said 
Gwendolen, with saucy gravity. " I don't know 
everything it is proper to feel on being engaged." 

The Sector patted her shoulder and smiled as 
at a bit of innocent naughtiness, and his wife took 
his behaviour as an indication that she was not to 
be displeased. As for Anna, she kissed Gwendolen 
and said, " I do hope you will be happy," but then 
sank into the background and tried to keep the 
tears back too. In the late days she had been 
imagining a little romance about Rex — how if he 


still longed for Gwendolen her heart might be soft- 
ened by trmible into love, so that they could by- 
and-by be married. And the romance had turned 
to a prayer that she, Anna, might be able to rejoice 
like a good sister, and only think of being useful 
in working for Gwendolen, as long as Kex was not 
rich. But now she wanted grace to rejoice in 
something else. Miss Merry and the four girls, 
Alice with the high shoulders, Bertha and Fanny 
the whisperers, and Isabel the listener, were all 
present on this family occasion, when everything 
seemed appropriately turning to the honour and 
glory of Gwendolen, and real life was as interesting 
as " Sir Charles Grandison." The evening passed 
chiefly in decisive remarks from the Eector, in 
answer to conjectures from the two elder ladies. 
According to him, the case was not one in which 
he could think it his duty to mention settlements : 
everything must, and doubtless would safely be 
left to Mr Grandcourt. 

" I should like to know exactly what sort of 
places Eyelands and Gadsmere are," said Mrs 

"Gadsmere, I believe, is a secondary place," 
said Mr Gascoigne ; " but Eyelands I know to be 
one of our finest seats. The park is extensive and 
the woods of a very valuable order. The house 


was built by Inigo Jones, and the ceilings are 
painted in the Italian style. The estate is said to 
be worth twelve thousand a-year, and there are two 
livings, one a rectory, in the gift of the Grandcourts. 
There may be some burthens on the land. Still, 
Mr Grandcourt was an only child." 

" It would be most remarkable," said Mrs Gas- 
coigne, *' if he were to become Lord Stannery in 
addition to everything else. Only think : there is 
the Grandcourt estate, the Mallinger estate, and 
the baronetcy, and the peerage," — she was mark- 
ing off the items on her fingers, and paused on 
the fourth while she added, " but they say there 
will be no land coming to him with the peerage." 
It seemed a pity there was nothing for the fifth 

"The peerage," said the Eector, judiciously, 
"must be regarded as a remote chance. There are 
two cousins between the present peer and Mr 
Grandcourt. It is certainly a serious reflection 
how death and other causes do sometimes concen- 
trate inheritances on one man. But an excess of 
that kind is to be deprecated. To be Sir Mallin- 
ger Grandcourt Mallinger — I suppose that will be 
his style — with the corresponding properties, is a 
valuable talent enough for any man to have com- 
mitted to him. Let us hope it will be well used." 


" And what a position for the wife, Gwendolen ! " 
said Mrs Gascoigne ; " a great responsibility in- 
deed. But you must lose no time in writing to 
Mrs Mompert, Henry. It is a good thing that 
you have an engagement of marriage to offer as 
an excuse, else she might feel offended. She is 
rather a high woman." 

" I am rid of that horror," thought Gwendolen, 
to whom the name of Mompert had become a sort 
of Mumbo-jumbo. She was very silent through 
the evening, and that night could hardly sleep 
at all in her little white bed. It was a rarity in 
her strong youth to be wakeful; and perhaps a still 
greater rarity for her to be careful that her mother 
should not know of her restlessness. But her 
state of mind was altogether new : she who had 
been used to feel sure of herself, and ready to 
manage others, had just taken a decisive step 
which she had beforehand thought that she would 
not take — nay, perhaps, was bound not to take. 
She could not go backward now ; she liked a great 
deal of what lay before her ; and there was nothing 
for her to like if she went back. But her resolu- 
tion was dogged by the shadow of that previous 
resolve which had at first come as the undoubting 
movement of her whole being. While she lay on 
her pillow with wide-open eyes, " looking on dark- 


ness which the blind do see," she was appalled by 
the idea that she was going to do what she had 
once started away from with repugnance. It was 
new to her that a question of right or wrong in 
her conduct should rouse her terror ; she had 
known no compunction that atoning caresses and 
presents could not lay to rest. But here had 
come a moment when something like a new con- 
sciousness was awaked. She seemed on the edge 
of adopting deliberately, as a notion for all the 
rest of her life, what she had rashly said in her 
bitterness, when her discovery had driven her 
away to Leubronn : — that it did not signify what 
she did; 'she had only to amuse herself as best 
she could. That lawlessness, that casting away of 
aU care for justification, suddenly frightened her: 
it came to her with the shadowy array of possible 
calamity behind it — calamity which had ceased to 
be a mere name for her ; and all the infiltrated in- 
fluences of disregarded religious teaching, as well 
as the deeper impressions of something awful and 
inexorable enveloping her, seemed to concentrate 
themselves in the vague conception of avenging 
power. The brilliant position she had longed for, 
the imagined freedom she would create for herself 
in marriage, the deliverance from the dull insignifi- 
cance of her girlhood — all were immediately before 
her; and yet they had come to her hunger like 


food with the taint of sacrilege upon it, which she 
must snatch with terror. In the darkness and 
loneliness of her little bed, her more resistant self 
could not act against the first onslaught of dread 
after her irrevocable decision. That unhappy- 
faced woman and her children — Grandcourt and 
his relations with her — kept repeating themselves 
in her imagination like the clinging memory of 
a disgrace, and gradually obliterated all other 
thought, leaving only the consciousness that she 
had taken those scenes into her life. Her long 
wakefulness seemed a delirium ; a faint, faint light 
penetrated beside the window-curtain; the chill- 
ness increased. She could bear it no longer, and 
cried " Mamma ! " 

" Yes, dear," said Mrs Davilow, immediately, in 
a wakeful voice. 

" Let me come to you." 

She soon went to sleep on her mother's shoulder, 
and slept on till late, when, dreaming of a lit-up 
ball-room, she opened her eyes on her mother 
standing by the bedside with a small packet in 
her hand. 

" I am sorry to wake you, darling, but I thought 
it better to give you this at once. The groom has 
brought Criterion ; he has come on another horse, 
and says he is to stay here." 

Gwendolen sat up in bed and opened the packet. 


It was a delicate little enamelled casket, and in- 
side was a splendid diamond ring with a letter 
which contained a folded bit of coloured paper 
and these words : — 

" Pray wear this ring when I come at twelve in 
sign of our betrothal. I enclose a cheque drawn 
in the name of Mr Gascoigne, for immediate ex- 
penses. Of course Mrs Davilow will remain at 
Ofifendene, at least for some time. I hope, when 
I come, you will have granted me an early day, 
when you may begin to command me at a shorter 
distance. — Yours devotedly, 

"H. M. Grandcourt." 

The cheque was for five hundred pounds, and 
Gwendolen turned it towards her mother, with the 

" How very kind and delicate!" said Mrs Da- 
vilow, with much feeling. " But I really should 
like better not to be dependent on a son-in-law. 
I and the girls could get along very well." 

"Mamma, if you say that again, I will not 
marry him," said Gwendolen, angrily. 

" My dear child, I trust you are not going to 
marry only for my sake," said Mrs Davilow, de- 


Gwendolen tossed her head on the pillow away 
from her mother, and let the ring lie. She was irri- 
tated at this attempt to take away a motive. Per- 
haps the deeper cause of her irritation was the con- 
sciousness that she was not going to marry solely 
for her mamma's sake — that she was drawn to- 
wards the marriage in ways against which stronger 
reasons than her mother's renunciation were yet 
not strong enough to hinder her. She had waked 
up to the signs that she was irrevocably engaged, 
and all the ugly visions, the alarms, the argu- 
ments of the night, must be met by daylight, 
in which probably they would show themselves 

" What I long for is your happiness, dear," con- 
tinued Mrs Davilow, pleadingly. " I will not say 
anything to vex you. Will you not put on the 

For a few moments Gwendolen did not answer, 
but her thoughts were active. At last she raised 
herself with a determination to do as she would do 
if she had started on horseback, and go on with 
spirit, whatever ideas might be running in her head. 

"I thought the lover always put on the be- 
trothal ring himself," she said, laughingly, slipping 
the ring on her finger, and looking at it with a 
charming movement of her head. " I know why 


he lias sent it," she added, nodding at her 


" He would rather make me put it on, than ask 
me to let him do it. Aha ! he is very proud. 
But so am I. We shall match each other. I 
should hate a man who went down on his knees, 
and came fawning on me. He really is not dis- 

" That is very moderate praise, Gwen." 

"No, it is not, for a man," said Gwendolen, 
gaily. " But now I must get up and dress. Will 
you come and do my hair, mamma dear," she 
went on, drawing down her mamma's face to 
caress it with her own cheeks, " and not be so 
naughty any more as to talk of living in poverty ? 
You must bear to be made comfortable, even if 
you don't like it. And Mr Grandcourt behaves 
perfectly, now, does he not?" 

"Certainly he does," said Mrs Davilow, en- 
couraged, and persuaded that after all Gwendolen 
was fond of her betrothed. She herself thought 
him a man whose attentions were likely to tell on 
a girl's feeling. Suitors must often be judged as 
words are, by the standing and the figure they 
make in polite society : it is difficult to know 
much else of them. And all the mother's anxiety 


turned, not on Grandcourt's character, but on 
Gwendolen's mood in accepting him. 

The mood was necessarily passing through a 
new phase this morning. Even in the hour of 
making her toilet, she had drawn on all the 
knowledge she had for grounds to justify her 
marriage. And what she most dwelt on was the 
determination, that when she was Grandcourt's 
wife, she would urge him to the most liberal con- 
duct towards Mrs Glasher's children. 

" Of what use would it be to her that I should 
not marry him ? He could have married her if he 
had liked ; but he did not like. Perhaps she is 
to blame for that. There must be a great deal 
about her that I know nothing of. And he must 
have been good to her in many ways, else she 
would not have wanted to marry him." 

But that last argument at once began to appear 
doubtful. Mrs Glasher naturally wished to ex- 
clude other children who would stand between 
Grandcourt and her own ; and Gwendolen's com- 
prehension of this feeling prompted another way 
of reconciling claims. 

"Perhaps we shall have no children. I hope 
we shall not. And he might leave the estate to 
the pretty little boy. My uncle said that Mr 
Grandcourt could do as he liked with the estates. 


Only when Sir Hugo Mallinger dies there will be 
enough for two." 

This made Mrs Glasher appear quite unreason- 
able in demanding that her boy should be sole 
heir ; and the double property was a security that 
Grandcourt's marriage would do her no wrong, 
when the wife was Gwendolen Harleth with all 
her proud resolution not to be fairly accused. 
This maiden had been accustomed to think herself 
blameless : other persons only were faulty. 

It was striking, that in the hold which this 
argument of her doing no wrong to Mrs Glasher 
had taken on her mind, her repugnance to the 
idea of Grandcourt's past had sunk into a subor- 
dinate feeling. The terror she had felt in the 
night watches at overstepping the border of wick- 
edness by doing what she had at first felt to be 
wrong, had dulled any emotions about his conduct. 
She was thinking of him, whatever he might be, as 
a man over whom she was going to have indefinite 
power ; and her loving him having never been a 
question with her, any agreeableness he had was so 
much gain. Poor Gwendolen had no awe of un- 
manageable forces in the state of matrimony, but 
regarded it as altogether a matter of management, 
in which she would know how to act. In relation 
to Grandcourt's past she encouraged new doubts 


whether he were likely to have differed much from 
other men ; and she devised little schemes fc^r learn- 
ing what was expected of men in general. 

But whatever else might be true in the world, 
her hair was dressed suitably for riding, and she 
went down in her riding-habit, to avoid delay 
before getting on horseback. She wanted to have 
her blood stirred once more with the intoxication 
of youth, and to recover the daring with which 
she had been used to think of her course in life. 
Already a load was lifted off her ; for in daylight 
and activity it was less oppressive to have doubts 
about her choice, than to feel that she had no 
choice but to endure insignificance and servi- 

" Go back and make yourself look like a 
duchess, mamma," she said, turning suddenly as 
she was going down-stairs. "Put your point-lace 
over your head I must have you look like a 
duchess. You must not take things humbly." 

When Grandcourt raised her left hand gently 
and looked at the ring, she said gravely, " It was 
very good of you to think of everything and send 
me that packet." 

" You will tell me if there is anything I forget ? " 
he said, keeping the hand softly within his own. 
" I will do anything you wish." 


"But I am very unreasonable in my wishes," 
said Gwendolen, smiling. 

" Yes, I expect that. Women always are." 

" Then I will not be unreasonable," said Gwen- 
dolen, taking away her hand, and tossing her head 
saucily. "I will not be told that I am what 
women always are.*' 

" I did not say that," said Grandcourt, looking 
at her with his usual gravity. " You are what no 
other woman is." 

"And what is that, pray?" said Gwendolen, 
moving to a distance with a little air of menace. 

Grandcourt made his pause before he answered. 
" You are the woman I love." 

" Oh what nice speeches ! " said Gwendolen, 
laughing. The sense of that love which he must 
once have given to another woman under strange 
circumstances was getting familiar. 

" Give me a nice speech in return. Say when 
we are to be married." 

" N"ot yet. Not till we have had a gallop over 
the downs. I am so thirsty for that, I can think 
of nothing else. I wish the hunting had begun. 
Sunday the twentieth, twenty-seventh, Monday, 
Tuesday." Gwendolen was counting on her fingers 
with the prettiest nod while she looked at Grand- 
court, and at last swept one palm over the other 


while she said triumphantly, "It will begin in 
ten days ! " 

"Let us be married in ten days, then," said 
Grandcourt, " and we shall not be bored about the 

"What do women always say in answer to 
that ? " said Gwendolen, mischievously. 

" They agree to it," said the lover, rather off his 

" Then I will not ! " said Gwendolen, taking up 
her gauntlets and putting them on, while she kept 
her eyes on him with gathering fun in them. 

The scene was pleasant on both sides. A cruder 
lover would have lost the view of her pretty ways 
and attitudes, and spoiled all by stupid attempts 
at caresses, utterly destructive of drama. Grand- 
court preferred the drama; and Gwendolen, left 
at ease, found her spirits rising continually as she 
played at reigning. Perhaps if Klesmer had seen 
more of her in this unconscious kind of acting, 
instead of when she was trying to be theatrical, 
he might have rated her chance higher. 

When they had had a glorious gallop, however, 
she was in a state of exhilaration that disposed her 
to think well of hastening the marriage which 
would make her life all of a piece with this 
splendid kind of enjoyment. She would not 

VOL. n. 


debate anymore about an act to which she had 
committed herself ; and she consented to fix the 
wedding on that day three weeks, notwithstanding 
the difficulty of fulfilling the customary laws of 
the trousseau. 

Lush, of course, was made aware of the engage- 
ment by abundant signs, without being formally 
told. But he expected some communication as a 
consequence of it, and after a few days he became 
rather impatient under Grandcourt's silence, feel- 
ing sure that the change would affect his personal 
prospects, and wishing to know exactly how. His 
tactics no longer included any opposition — which 
he did not love for its own sake. He might easily 
cause Grandcourt a great deal of annoyance, but 
it would be to his own injury, and to create annoy- 
ance was not a motive with him. Miss Gwendolen 
he would certainly not have been sorry to frustrate 
a little, but — after all there was no knowing what 
would come. It was nothing new that Grand- 
court should show a perverse wilfulness ; yet in 
his freak about this girl he struck Lush rather 
newly as something like a man who was fey — led 
on by an ominous fatality ; and that one born to 
his fortune should make a worse business of his 
life than was necessary, seemed really pitiable. 
Having protested against the marriage, Lush had 


a second-sight for its evil consequences. Grand- 
court had been taking the pains to write letters 
and give orders himself instead of employing Lush; 
and appeared to be ignoring his usefulness, even 
choosing, against the habit of years, to breakfast 
alone in his dressing-room. But a tSte-d-tSte was 
not to be avoided in a house empty of guests; and 
Lush hastened to use an opportunity of saying — it 
was one day after dinner, for there were difficulties 
in Grandcourt's dining at Offendene — 

"And when is the marriage to take place?" 

Grandcourt, who drank little wine, had left the 
table and was lounging, while he smoked, in an 
easy-chair near the hearth, where a fire of oak 
boughs was gaping to its glowing depths, and edg- 
ing them with a delicate tint of ashes delightful to 
behold. The chair of red-brown velvet brocade 
was a becoming background for his pale-tinted 
well-cut features and exquisite longhands: omitting 
the cigar, you might have imagined him a portrait 
by Moroni, who would have rendered wonderfully 
the impenetrable gaze and air of distinction ; and a 
portrait by that great master would have been quite 
as lively a companion as Grandcourt was disposed 
to be. But he answered without unusual delay. 

" On the tenth." 

" I suppose you intend to remain here." 


" We shall go to Eyelands for a little while ; but 
we shall return here for the sake of the hunting." 

After this word there was the languid inartic- 
ulate sound frequent with Grandcourt when he 
meant to continue speaking, and Lush waited for 
something more. Nothing came, and he was 
going to put another question, when the inarticu- 
late sound began again and introduced the mildly- 
uttered suggestion — 

" You had better make some new arrangement 
for yourself." 

" What ! I am to cut and run ? " said Lush, pre- 
pared to be good-tempered on the occasion. 

" Something of that kind." 

"The bride objects to me. I hope she will 
make up to you for the want of my services." 

" I can't help your being so damnably disagree- 
able to women," said Grandcourt, in soothing 

" To one woman, if you please." 

" It makes no difference, since she is the one in 

" I suppose I am not to be turned adrift after 
fifteen years without some provision." 

" You must have saved something out of me." 

" Deuced little. I have often saved something 
for you." 


" You can have three hundred a- year. But you 
must live in town and be ready to look after 
things for me when I want you. I shall be rather 
hard up." 

" If you are not going to be at Ryelands this 
winter, I might run down there and let you know 
how Swinton goes on/' 

"If you like. I don't care a toss where you 
are, so that you keep out of sight." 

"Much obliged," said Lush, able to take the 
affair more easily than he had expected. He was 
supported by the secret belief that he should by- 
and-by be wanted as much as ever. 

" Perhaps you will not object to packing up as 
soon as possible," said Grandcourt. "The Tor- 
ringtons are coming, and Miss Harleth will be 
riding over here." 

" With all my heart. Can't I be of use in going 
to Gadsmere ? " 

" No. I am going myself." 

"About your being rather hard up. Have you 
thought of that plan " 

" Just leave me alone, will you ? " said Grand- 
court, in his lowest audible tone, tossing his cigar 
into the fire, and rising to walk away. 

He spent the evening in the solitude of the 
smaller drawing-room, where, with various new 


publications on the table, of the kind a gentleman 
may like to have at hand without touching, he 
employed himself (as a philosopher might have 
done) in sitting meditatively on a sofa and abstain- 
ing from literature — political, comic, cynical, or 
romantic. In this way hours may pass surpris- 
ingly soon, without the arduous invisible chase of 
philosophy ; not from love of thought, but from 
hatred of efifort — from a state of the inward world, 
something like premature age, where the need for 
action lapses into a mere image of what has been, 
is, and may or might be ; where impulse is born 
and dies in a phantasmal world, pausing in rejec- 
tion even of a shadowy fulfilment. That is a con- 
dition which often comes with whitening hair ; 
and sometimes, too, an intense obstinacy and ten- 
acity of rule, like the main trunk of an exorbitant 
egoism, conspicuous in proportion as the varied 
susceptibilities of younger years are stripped 

But Grandcourt's hair, though he had not much 
of it, was of a fine sunny blond, and his moods 
were not entirely to be explained as ebbing energy. 
We mortals have a strange spiritual chemistry 
going on within us, so that a lazy stagnation or 
even a cottony milkiness may be preparing one 
knows not what biting or explosive material. The 


nawy waking from sleep and without malice heav- 
ing a stone to crush the life out of his still sleep- 
ing comrade, is understood to lack the trained 
motive which makes a character fairly calculable 
in its actions ; but by a roundabout course even a 
gentleman may make of himself a chancy person- 
age, raising an unceitainty as to what he may do 
next, which sadly spoils companionship. 

Grandcourt's thoughts this evening were like 
the circlets one sees in a dark pool continually 
dying out and continually started again by some 
impulse from below the surface. The deeper central 
impulse came from the image of Gwendolen ; but 
the thoughts it stirred would be imperfectly illus- 
trated by a reference to the amatory poets of all 
ages. It was characteristic that he got none of his 
satisfaction from the belief that Gwendolen was in 
love with him ; and that love had overcome the 
jealous resentment which had made her run away 
from him. On the contrary, he believed that this 
girl was rather exceptional in the fact that, in spite 
of his assiduous attention to her, she was not in 
love with him ; and it seemed to him very likely ■ 
that if it had not been for the sudden poverty which 
had come over her family, she would not have 
accepted him. From the very first there had been 
an exasperating fascination in the tricksiness with 


which she had — not met his advances,but — wheeled 
away from them. She had been brought to accept 
him in spite of everything — brought to kneel down 
like a horse under training for the arena, though 
she might have an objection to it all the while. 
On the whole, Grandcourt got more pleasure out of 
4his notion than he could have done out of winning 
a girl of whom he was sure that she had a strong 
inclination for him personally. And yet this plea- 
sure in mastering reluctance flourished along with 
the habitual persuasion that no woman whom he 
favoured could be quite indifferent to his personal 
influence ; and it seemed to him not unlikely that 
by-and-by Gwendolen might be more enamoured 
of him than he of her. In any case she would 
have to submit ; and he enjoyed thinking of her as 
his future wife, whose pride and spirit were suited 
to command every one but himself. He had no 
taste for a woman who was all tenderness to him, 
full of petitioning solicitude and willing obedience. 
He meant to be master of a woman who would 
have liked to ma^ster him, and who perhaps would 
have been capable of mastering another man. 

Lush, having failed in his attempted reminder 
to Grandcourt, thought it well to communicate 
with Sir Hugo, in whom, as a man having per- 
haps interest enough to command the bestowal 


of some place where the work was light, gentle- 
manly, and not ill-paid, he was anxious to culti- 
vate a sense of friendly obligation, not feeling at 
all secure against the future need of such a place. 
He wrote the following letter, and addressed it to 
Park Lane, whither he knew the family had re- 
turned from Leubronn : — 

" My dear Sir Hugo,— Since we came home the 
marriage has been absolutely decided on, and is to 
take place in less than three weeks. It is so far 
the worse for him that her mother has lately lost 
all her fortune, and he will have to find supplies. 
Grandcourt, I know, is feeling the want of cash ; 
and unless some other plan is resorted to, he will 
be raising money in a foolish way. I am going to 
leave Diplow immediately, and I shall not be able 
to start the topic. What I should advise is, that 
Mr Deronda, who I know has your confidence, 
should propose to come and pay a short visit 
here, according to invitation (there are going to 
be other people in the house), and that you should 
put him fully in possession of your wishes and 
the possible extent of your offer. Then, that he 
should introduce the subject to Grandcourt so as 
not to imply that you suspect any particular want 
of money on his part, but only that there is a 


strong wish on yours. What I have formerly 
said to him has been in the way of a conjecture 
that you might be willing to give a good sum for 
his chance of Diplow ; but if Mr Deronda came 
armed with a definite offer, that would take an- 
other sort of hold. Ten to one he will not close 
for some time to come ; but the proposal will have 
got a stronger lodgment in his mind ; and though 
at present he has a great notion of the hunting 
here, I see a likelihood, under the circumstances, 
that he will get a distaste for the neighbourhood, 
and there will be the notion of the money sticking 
by him without being urged. I would bet on 
your ultimate success. As I am not to be exiled 
to Siberia, but am to be within call, it is possible 
that, by-and-by, I may be of more service to you. 
But at present I can think of no medium so good 
as Mr Deronda. Nothing puts Grandcourt in 
worse humour than having the lawyers thrust 
their paper under his nose uninvited. 

" Trusting that your visit to Leubronn has put 
you in excellent condition for the winter, I re- 
main, my dear Sir Hugo, yours very faithfully, 
''Thomas Cranmer Lush." 

Sir Hugo, having received this letter at breakfast, 
handed it to Deronda, who, though he had cham- 


bers in town, was somehow hardly ever in them, 
Sir Hugo not being contented without him. The 
chatty baronet would have liked a young com- 
panion even if there had been no peculiar reasons 
for attachment between them: one with a fine 
harmonious unspoiled face fitted to keep up a 
cheerful view of posterity and inheritance gener- 
ally, notwithstanding particular disappointments ; 
and his affection for Deronda was not diminished 
by the deep-lying though not obtrusive difference 
in their notions and tastes. Perhaps it was all the 
stronger; acting as the same sort of difference 
does between a man and a woman in giving a 
piquancy to the attachment which subsists in 
spite of it. Sir Hugo did not think unapprov- 
ingly of himself; but he looked at men and society 
from a liberal -menagerie point of view, and he 
had a certain pride in Deronda's differing from 
him, which, if it had found voice, might have 
said — " You see this fine young fellow — not such 
as you see every day, is he ? — he belongs to me in 
a sort of way, I brought him up from a child ; but 
you would not ticket him off easily, he has notions 
of his own, and he's as far as the poles asunder 
from what I was at his age." This state of feeling 
was kept up by the mental balance in Deronda, 
who was moved by an affectionateness such as we 


are apt to call feminine, disposing him to yield in 
ordinary details, while he had a certain inflexi- 
bility of judgment, an independence of opinion, 
held to be rightfully masculine. 

When he had read the letter, he returned it 
without speaking, inwardly wincing under Lush's 
mode of attributing a neutral usefulness to him in 
the family affairs. 

" What do you say, Dan ? It would be pleasant 
enough for you. You have not seen the place for 
a good many years now, and you might have a 
famous run with the harriers if you went down 
next week," said Sir Hugo. 

" I should not go on that account," said Deronda, 
buttering his bread attentively. He had an objec- 
tion to this transparent kind of persuasiveness, 
which all intelligent animals are seen to treat with 
indifference. If he went to Diplow he should be 
doing something disagreable to oblige Sir Hugo. 

" I think Lush's notion is a good one. And it 
would be a pity to lose the occasion." 

" That is a different matter — ^if you think my 
going of importance to your object," said Deronda, 
still with that aloofness of manner which implied 
some suppression. He knew that the baronet had 
set his heart on the affair. 

" Why, you will see the fair gambler, the Leu- 


bronn Diana, I shouldn't wonder," said Sir Hugo, 
gaily. " We shall have to invite her to the Abbey, 
when they are married, Louisa," he added, turning 
to Lady Mallinger, as if she too had read the 

" I cannot conceive whom you mean," said Lady 
Mallinger, who in fact had not been listening, her 
mind having been taken up with her first sips of 
coffee, the objectionable cuff of her sleeve, and the 
necessity of carrying Theresa to the dentist — inno- 
cent and partly laudable preoccupations, as the 
gentle lady's usually were. Should her appear- 
ance be inquired after, let it be said that she had 
reddish blond hair (the hair of the period), a small 
Eoman nose, rather prominent blue eyes and 
delicate eyelids, with a figure which her thinner 
friends called fat, her hands showing curves and 
dimples like a magnified baby's. 

" I mean that Grandcourt is going to marry the 
girl you saw at Leubronn — don't you remember 
her? — the Miss Harleth who used to play at 

"Dear me ! Is that a good match for him ? " 

"That depends on the sort of goodness he 
wants," said Sir Hugo, smiling. "However, she 
and her friends have nothing, and she will bring 
him expenses. It's a good match for my purposes. 


because if I am willing to fork out a sum of money, 
he may be willing to give up his chance of Diplow, 
so that we shall have it out and out, and when 
I die you will have the consolation of going to 
the place you would like to go to — wherever I 
may go." 

" I wish you would not talk of dying in that 
light way, dear." 

'' It's rather a heavy way, Lou, for I shall have 
to pay a heavy sum — forty thousand, at least." 

"But why are we to invite them to the Abbey?" 
said Lady Mallinger. " I do not like women who 
gamble, like Lady Cragstone." 

" Oh, you will not mind her for a week. Besides, 
she is not like Lady Cragstone because she gambled 
a little, any more than I am like a broker because 
I'm a Whig. I want to keep Grandcourt in good 
humour, and to let him see plenty of this place, 
that he may think the less of Diplow. I don't 
know yet whether I shall get him to meet me in 
this matter. And if Dan were to go over on a visit 
there, he might hold out the bait to him. It 
would be doing me a great service." This was 
meant for Deronda. 

" Daniel is not fond of Mr Grandcourt, I think, 
is he ? " said Lady Mallinger, looking at Deronda 


"There is no avoiding everybody one doesn't 
happen to be fond of," said Deronda. " I will go to 
Diplow — I don't know that I have anything better 
to do — since Sir Hugo wishes it." 

" That's a trump ! " said Sir Hugo, well pleased. 
"And if you don't find it very pleasant, it's so 
much experience. Nothing used to come amiss to 
me when I was young. You must see men and 

" Yes ; but I have seen that man, and something 
of his manners too," said Deronda. 

" Not nice manners, I think," said Lady Mal- 

"Well, you see they succeed with your sex," 
said Sir Hugo, provokingly. "And he was an un- 
commonly good-looking fellow when he was two 
or three and twenty — like his father. He doesn't 
take after his father in marrying the heiress, 
though. If he had got Miss Arrowpoint and my 
land too, confound him, he would have had a fine 

Deronda, in anticipating the projected visit, felt 
less disinclination than when consenting to it. 
The drama of that girl's marriage did interest him : 
what he had heard through Lush of her having 
run away fi'om the suit of the man she was now 
going to take as a husband, had thrown a new sort 


of liglit on her gambling ; and it was probably the 
transition from that fevered worldliness into pov- 
erty which had urged her acceptance where she 
must in some way have felt repulsion. All this im- 
plied a nature liable to difficulty and struggle — 
elements of life which had a predominant attraction 
for his sympathy, due perhaps to his early pain in 
dwelling on the conjectured story of his own ex- 
istence. Persons attracted him, as Hans Meyrick 
had done, in proportion to the possibility of his 
defending them, rescuing them, telling upon their 
lives with some sort of redeeming influence; and he 
had to resist an inclination, easily accounted for, 
to withdraw coldly from the fortunate. But in the 
movement which had led him to redeem Gwen- 
dolen's necklace for her, and which was at work in 
him still, there was something beyond his habitual 
compassionate fervour — something due to the 
fascination of her womanhood. He was very open 
to that sort of charm, and mingled it with the con- 
sciously Utopian pictures of his own future ; yet 
any one able to trace the folds of his character 
might have conceived that he would be more 
likely than many less passionate men to love a 
woman without telling her of it. Sprinkle food be- 
fore a delicate-eared bird: there is nothing he would 


more willingly take, yet he keeps aloof, because 
of his sensibility to checks which to you are im- 
perceptible. And one man differs from another, 
as we all differ from the Bosjesman, in a sensi- 
bility to checks, that come from variety of needs, 
spiritual or other. It seemed to foreshadow that 
capability of reticence in Deronda that his imagi- 
nation was much occupied with two women, to 
neither of whom would he have held it possible 
that he should ever make love. Hans Meyrick 
had laughed at him for having something of the 
knight-errant in his disposition; and he would 
have found his proof if he had known what was 
just now going on in Deronda's mind about Mirah 
and Gwendolen. 

He wrote without delay to announce the visit 
to Diplow, and received in reply a polite assurance 
that his coming would give great pleasure. That 
was not altogether imtrue. Grandcourt thought 
it probable that the visit was prompted by Sir 
Hugo's desire to court him for a purpose which he 
did not make up his mind to resist ; and it was 
not a disagreeable idea to him that this fine fel- 
low, whom he believed to be his cousin under 
the rose, would witness, perhaps with some jeal- 
ousy, Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt play the 

VOL.II. p 


commanding part of betrothed lover to a splen- 
did girl whom the cousin had already looked at 
with admiration. 

Grandcourt himself was not jealous of anything 
unless it threatened his mastery — which he did 
not think himself likely to lose. 



' Surely whoever sj)eak9 to me in the right voice, 

him or her I shall follow, 
As the water follows the moon, silently, 

with fluid steps anywhere around the globe. " 

— Walt "Whitman-. 

"Now my cousins are at Diplow," said Grand- 
court, " will you go there ? — to-morrow ? The 
carriage shall come for Mrs Davilow. You can tell 
me what you would like done in the rooms. Things 
must be put in decent order while we are away at 
Kyelands. And to-morrow is the only day." 

He was sitting sideways on a sofa in the draw- 
ing-room at Offendene, one hand and elbow resting 
on the back, and the other hand thrust between his 
crossed knees — in the attitude of a man who is 
much interested in watching the person next to 
him. Gwendolen, who had always disliked needle- 
work, had taken to it with apparent zeal since her 
engagement, and now held a piece of white em- 
broidery which on examination would have shown 


many false stitches. During the last eight or nine 
days their hours had been chiefly spent on horse- 
back, but some margin had always been left for 
this more difficult sort of companionship, which, 
however, Gwendolen had not found disagreeable. 
She was very well satisfied with Grandcourt. His 
answers to her lively questions about what he had 
seen and done in his life, bore drawling very well. 
From the first she had noticed that he knew what 
to say ; and she was constantly feeling not only 
that he had nothing of the fool in his composition, 
but that by some subtle means he communicated 
to her the impression that all the folly lay with 
other people, who did what he did not care to do. 
A man who seems to have been able to command 
the best, has a sovereign power of depreciation. 
Then Grandcourt's behaviour as a lover had hardly 
at all passed the limit of an amorous homage which 
was inobtrusive as a wafted odour of roses, and 
spent all its effect in a gratified vanity. One day, 
indeed, he had kissed not her cheek but her neck 
a little below her ear ; and Gwendolen, taken by 
surprise, had started up with a marked agitation 
which made him rise too and say, " I beg your 
pardon — did I annoy you ? " " Oh, it was nothing," 
said Gwendolen, rather afraid of herself, *' only I 
cannot bear — to be kissed under my ear." She sat 


down again with a little playful laugh, but all the 
while she felt her heart beating with a vague fear : 
she was no longer at liberty to flout him as she 
had flouted poor Eex. Her agitation seemed not 
uncomplimentary, and he had been contented not 
to transgress again. 

To-day a slight rain hindered riding ; but to com- 
pensate, a package had come from London, and 
Mrs Davilow had just left the room after bringing 
in for admiration the beautiful things (of Grand- 
court's ordering) which lay scattered about on the 
tables. Gwendolen was just then enjoying the 
scenery of her life. She let her hands fall on her 
lap and said with a pretty air of perversity — 

" Why is to-morrow the only day ? " 

" Because the next day is the first with the 
hounds," said Grandcourt. 

"And after that?" 

" After that I must go away for a couple of days 
— it's a bore — but I shall go one day and come back 
the next." Grandcourt noticed a change in her 
face, and releasing his hand from under his knees, 
he laid it on hers and said, "You object to my 
going away ? " 

"It is no use objecting," said Gwendolen, coldly. 
She was resisting to the utmost her temptation to 
tell him that, she suspected to whom he was going 


—and the temptation to make a clean breast, speak- 
ing without restraint. 

''Yes, it is," said Grandcourt, enfolding her 
hand. " I will put off going. And I will travel 
at night, so as only to be away one day." He 
thought that he knew the reason of what he in- 
wardly called this bit of temper, and she was par- 
ticularly fascinating to him at this moment. 

" Then don't put off going, but travel at night," 
said Gwendolen, feeling that she could command 
him, and finding in this peremptoriness a small 
outlet for her irritation. 

" Then you will go to Diplow to-morrow ?" 

" Oh yes, if you wish it," said Gwendolen, in a 
high tone of careless assent. Her concentration 
in other feelings had really hindered her from 
taking notice that her hand was being held. 

'' How you treat us poor devils of men," said 
Grandcourt, lowering his tone. " We are always 
getting the worst of it." 

" Are you ? " said Gwendolen, in a tone of in- 
quiry, looking at him more naively than usual. 
She longed to believe this commonplace badinage 
as the serious truth about her lover : in that case, 
she too was justified. If she knew everything, 
Mrs Glasher would appear more blamable than 
Grandcourt. ''Are you always getting the worst ?" 


" Yes. Are you as kind to me as I am to you V 
said Grandcourt, looking into her eyes with his 
narrow gaze. 

Gwendolen felt herself stricken. She was con- 
scious of having received so much, that her sense 
of command was checked, and sank away in 
the perception that, look around her as she might, 
she could not turn back : it was as if she had con- 
sented to mount a chariot where another held the 
reins ; and it was not in her nature to leap out in 
the eyes of the world. She had not consented in 
ignorance, and all she could say now would be a 
confession that she had not been ignorant. Her 
right to explanation was gone. All she had to do 
now was to adjust herself, so that the spikes of that 
unwilling penance which conscience imposed 
should not gall her. With a sort of mental 
shiver, she resolutely changed her mental attitude. 
There had been a little pause, during which she 
had not turned away her eyes ; and with a sudden 
break into a smile, she said — 

" If I were as kind to you as you are to me, 
that would spoil your generosity : it would no 
longer be as great as it could be — and it is that 

"Then I am not to ask for one kiss," said 
Grandcourt, contented to pay a large price for this 


new kind of love-making, which introduced mar- 
riage by the finest contrast. 

" Not one ! " said Gwendolen, getting saucy, 
and nodding at him defiantly. 

He lifted her little left hand to his lips, and 
then released it respectfully. Clearly it was faint 
praise to say of him that he was not disgusting : 
he was almost charming ; and she felt at this mo- 
ment that it was not likely she could ever have 
loved another man better than this one. His 
reticence gave her some inexplicable, delightful 

" Apropos," she said, taking up her work again, 
" is there any one besides Captain and Mrs Tor- 
rington at Diplow ? — or do you leave them tete-d- 
tete ? I suppose he converses in cigars, and she 
answers with her chignon." 

" She has a sister with her," said Grandcourt, 
with his shadow of a smile, " and there are two 
men besides — one of them you know, I believe." 

" Ah, then, I have a poor opinion of him," said 
Gwendolen, shaking her head. 

" You saw him at Leubronn — young Deronda — 
a young fellow with the Mallingers." 

Gwendolen felt as if her heart were making a 
sudden gambol, and her fingers, which tried to 
keep a firm hold on her work, got cold. 


" I never spoke to liim," she said, dreading any- 
discernible change in herself. " Is he not dis- 
agreeable ? " 

" No, not particularly," said Grandcourt, in his 
most languid way. " He thinks a little too much 
of himself. I thought he had been introduced to 

" No. Some one told me his name the evening 
before I came away. That was alL What is 

"A sort of ward of Sir Hugo Mallinger's. 
Nothing of any consequence." 

" Oh, poor creature ! How very unpleasant for 
him ! " said Gwendolen, speaking from the lip, and 
not meaning any sarcasm. " I wonder if it has 
left off raining I" she added, rising and going to 
look out of the window. 

Happily it did not rain the next day, and 
Gwendolen rode to Diplow on Criterion as she had 
done on that former day when she returned with 
her mother in the carriage. She always felt the 
more daring for being in her riding-dress ; besides 
having the agreeable belief that she looked as well 
as possible in it — a sustaining consciousness in 
any meeting which seems formidable. Her anger 
towards Deronda had changed into a superstitious 
dread — due, perhaps, to the coercion he had exer- 


cised over her thought — lest that first interference 
of his in her life might foreshadow some future in- 
fluence. It is of such stuff that superstitions are 
commonly made: an intense feeling about our- 
selves which makes the evening star shine at us 
with a threat, and the blessing of a beggar en- 
courage us. And superstitions carry consequences 
which often verify their hope or their foreboding. 

The time before luncheon was taken up for 
Gwendolen by going over the rooms with Mrs Tor- 
rington and Mrs Davilow ; and she thought it likely 
that if she saw Deronda, there would hardly be 
need for more than a bow between them. She 
meant to notice him as little as possible. 

And after all she found herself under an inward 
compulsion too strong for her pride. From the 
first moment of their being in the room together, 
she seemed to herself to be doing nothing but 
notice him: everything else was automatic per- 
formance of an habitual part. 

When he took his place at lunch, Grandcourt 
had said, ''Deronda, Miss Harleth tells me you 
were not introduced to her at Leubronn ?" 

"Miss Harleth hardly remembers me, I ima- 
gine/' said Deronda, looking at her quite simply, 
as they bowed. " She was intensely occupied 
when I saw her." 


Now, did he suppose that she had not suspected 
him of being the person who redeemed her neck- 

*'0n the contrary. I remember you very 
well," said Gwendolen, feeling rather nervous, but 
governing herself and looking at him in return 
with new examination. " You did not approve of 
my playing at roulette." 

" How did you come to that conclusion ? " said 
Deronda, gravely. 

" Oh, you cast an evil eye on my play," said 
Gwendolen, with a turn of her head and a smile. 
" I began to lose as soon as you came to look on. 
I had always been winning till then." 

" Eoulette in such a kennel as Leubronn is a 
horrid bore," said Grandcourt. 

" / found it a bore when I began to lose," said 
Gwendolen. Her face was turned towards Grand- 
court as she smiled and spoke, but she gave a 
sidelong glance at Deronda, and saw his eyes fixed 
on her with a look so gravely penetrating that it 
had a keener edge for her than his ironical smile 
at her losses — a keener edge than Elesmer's judg- 
ment. She wheeled her neck round as if she 
wanted to listen to what was being said by the 
rest, while she was only thinking of Deronda. 
His face had that disturbing kind of form and ex- 


pression whicli threatens to affect opinion — as if 
one's standard were somehow wrong. (Who has 
not seen men with faces of this corrective power 
till they frustrated it by speech or action ? ) His 
voice, heard now for the first time, was to Grand- 
court's toneless drawl, which had been in her ears 
every day, as the deep notes of a violoncello to the 
broken discourse of poultry and other lazy gentry 
in the afternoon sunshine. Grandcourt, she in- 
wardly conjectured, was perhaps right in saying 
that Deronda thought too much of himself: — 
a favourite way of explaining a superiority that 
humiliates. However, the talk turned on the rin- 
derpest and Jamaica, and no more was said about 
roulette. Grandcourt held that the Jamaican 
negro was a beastly sort of baptist Caliban ; De- 
ronda said he had always felt a little with Cali- 
ban, who naturally had his own point of view and 
could sing a good song; Mrs Davilow observed 
that her father had an estate in Barbadoes, but 
that she herseK had never been in the West In- 
dies ; Mrs Torrington was sure she should never 
sleep in her bed if she lived among blacks ; her 
husband corrected her by saying that the blacks 
would be manageable enough if it were not for 
the half-breeds ; and Deronda remarked that the 
whites had to thank themselves for the half-breeds. 


While this polite pea-shooting was going on, 
Gwendolen trifled with her jelly, and looked at 
every speaker in turn that she might feel at ease 
in looking at Deronda. 

"I wonder what he thinks of me really? He 
mnst have felt interested in me, else he would not 
have sent me my necklace. I wonder what he 
thinks of my marriage? What notions has he 
to make him so grave about things? Why is 
he come to Diplow ? " 

These questions ran in her mind as the voice of 
an uneasy longing to be judged by Deronda with 
unmixed admiration — a longing which had had its 
seed in her first resentment at his critical glance. 
Why did she care so much about the opinion of 
this man who was " nothing of any consequence " ? 
She had no time to find the reason — she was too 
much engaged in caring. In the drawing-room, 
when something had called Grandcourt away, she 
went quite unpremeditatedly up to Deronda, who 
was standing at a table apart, turning over 
some prints, and said to him — 

" Shall you hunt to-morrow, Mr Deronda ?'' 

*' Yes, I believe so." 

" You don't object to hunting, then ? " 

" I find excuses for it. It is a sin I am inclined 
to — when 1 can't get boating or cricketing." 


" Do you object to my hunting ? " said Gwen- 
dolen, with a saucy movement of the chin. 

"I have no right to object to anything you 
choose to do." 

" You thought you had a right to object to my 
gambling/' persisted Gwendolen. 

" I was sorry for it. I am not aware that I 
told you of my objection," said Deronda, with 
his usual directness of gaze — a large-eyed gravity, 
innocent of any intention. His eyes had a pecu- 
liarity which has drawn many men into trouble : 
they were of a dark yet mild intensity, which 
seemed to express a special interest in every one 
on whom he fixed them, and might easily help to 
bring on him those claims which ardently sym- 
pathetic people are often creating in the minds of 
those who need help. In mendicant fashion, we 
make the goodness of others a reason for exorbi- 
tant demands on them. That sort of effect was 
penetrating Gwendolen. 

" You hindered me from gambling again," she 
answered. But she had no sooner spoken than 
«he blushed over face and neck; and Deronda 
olushed too, conscious that in the little affair of 
the necklace he had taken a questionable freedom. 

It was impossible to speak further; and she 
turned away to a window, feeling that she had 


stupidly said what she had not meant to say, and 
yet being rather happy that she had plunged into 
this mutual understanding. Deronda also did not 
dislike it. Gwendolen seemed more decidedly at- 
tractive than before ; and certainly there had been 
changes going on within her since that time at 
Leubronn : the struggle of mind attending a con- 
scious error had wakened something like a new 
soul, which had better, but also worse, possibilities 
than her former poise of crude self-confidence : 
among the forces she had come to dread was 
something within her that troubled satisfaction. 

That evening Mrs Davilow said, " Was it really 
so, or only a joke of yours, about Mr Deronda's 
spoiling your play, Gwen ? " 

Her curiosity had been excited, and she could 
venture to ask a question that did not concern 
Mr Grandcourt. 

" Oh, it merely happened that he was looking 
on when I began to lose," said Gwendolen, care- 
lessly. " I noticed him." 

" I don't wonder at that : he is a striking young 
man. He puts me in mind of Italian paintings. 
One would guess, without being told, that there 
was foreign blood in his veins." 

" Is there ? " said Gwendolen. 


" Mrs Torrington says so. I asked particularly 
who he was, and she told me that his mother was 
some foreigner of high rank." 

" His mother ? " said Gwendolen, rather sharply. 
** Then who was his father ? " 

" Well— every one says he is the son of Sir Hugo 
Mallinger, who brought him up; though he passes 
for a ward. She says, if Sir Hugo Mallinger could 
have done as he liked with his estates, he would 
have left them to this Mr Deronda, since he has 
no legitimate son." 

Gwendolen was silent ; but her mother observed 
so marked an effect in her face that she was angry 
with herself for having repeated Mrs Torring- 
ton's gossip. It seemed, on reflection, unsuited to 
the ear of her daughter, for whom Mrs Davilow 
disliked what is called knowledge of the world ; 
and indeed she wished that she herself had not 
had any of it thrust upon her. 

An image which had immediately arisen in 
Gwendolen's mind was that of the unknown 
mother — no doubt a dark-eyed woman — probably 
sad. Hardly any face could be less like Deronda's 
than that represented as Sir Hugo's in a crayon 
portrait at Diplow. A dark-eyed beautiful wo- 
man, no longer young, had become " stuff o' the 
conscience " to Gwendolen. 


That night when she had got into her little bed, 
and only a dim light was burning, she said — 

" Mamma, have men generally children before 
they are married ? " 

" No, dear, no," said Mrs Davilow. " Why do 
you ask such a question ? " (But she began to 
think that she saw the why.) 

" If it were so, I ought to know," said Gwen- 
dolen, with some indignation. 

"You are thinking of what I said about Mr 
Deronda and Sir Hugo Mallinger. That is a very 
unusual case, dear." 

" Does Lady Mallinger know ? " 

" She knows enough to satisfy her. That is quite 
clear, because Mr Deronda has lived with them." 

" And people think no worse of him ? " 

" Well, of course he is under some disadvantage : 
it is not as if he were Lady Mallinger's son. He 
does not inherit the property, and he is not of any 
consequence in the world. But people are not 
obliged to know anything about his birth ; you 
see, he is very well received." 

" I wonder whether he knows about it ; and 
whether he is angry with his father ? " 

" My dear child, why should you think of 

" Why ? " said Gwendolen, impetuously, sitting 
VOL. n. Q 


up in her bed. " Haven't children reason to be 
angry with their parents ? How can they help 
their parents marrying or not marrying ? " 

But a consciousness rushed upon her, which 
made her fall back again on her pillow. It was 
not only what she would have felt months before 
— that she might seem to be reproaching her 
mother for that second marriage of hers ; — what 
she chiefly felt now was, that she had been led on 
to a condemnation which seemed to make her own 
marriage a forbidden thing. 

There was no further talk, and till sleep came 
over her, Gwendolen lay struggling with the rea- 
sons against that marriage — reasons which pressed 
upon her newly now that they were unexpectedly 
mirrored in the story of a man whose slight rela- 
tions with her had, by some hidden affinity, bitten 
themselves into the most permanent layers of feel- 
ing. It was characteristic that, with all her 
debating, she was never troubled by the question 
whether the indefensibleness of her marriage did 
not include the fact that she had accepted Grand- 
court solely as the man whom it was convenient 
for her to marry, not in the least as one to whom 
she would be binding herself in duty. Gwendolen's 
ideas were pitiably crude ; but many grand diffi- 
culties of life are apt to force themselves on us in 


our crudity. And to judge wisely I suppose we 
must know how things appear to the unwise ; that 
kind of appearance making the larger part of the 
world's history. 

In the morning, there was a double excitement 
for her. She was going to hunt, from which 
scruples about propriety had threatened to hinder 
her, until it was found that Mrs Torrington was 
horsewoman enough to accompany her : — going to 
hunt for the first time since her escapade with 
Bex ; and she was going again to see Deronda, in 
whom, since last night, her interest had so gathered 
that she expected, as people do about revealed 
celebrities, to see something in his appearance 
which she had missed before. What was he going 
to be ? What sort of life had he before him — he 
being nothing of any consequence? And with 
only a little difference in events he might have 
been as important as Grandcourt, nay — her imagi- 
nation inevitably went in that direction — might 
have held the very estates which Grandcourt was 
to have. But now, Deronda would probably some 
day see her mistress of the Abbey at Topping, 
see her bearing the title which would have been 
his own wife's. These obvious, futile thoughts 
of what might have been, made a new epoch for 
Gwendolen. She, whose unquestioning habit it 


had been to take the best that came to her for less 
than her own claim, had now to see the position 
which tempted her in a new light, as a hard, unfair 
exclusion of others. What she had now heard 
about Deronda seemed to her imagination to throw 
him into one group with Mrs Glasher and her 
children ; before whom she felt herself in an atti- 
tude of apology — she who had hitherto been sur- 
rounded by a group that in her opinion had need 
be apologetic to her. Perhaps Deronda himself 
was thinking of these things. Could he know of 
Mrs Glasher? If he knew that she knew, he 
would despise her; but he could have no such 
knowledge. Would he, without that, despise hei 
for marrying Grandcourt ? His possible judgment 
of her actions was telling on her as importunately 
as Klesmer's judgment of her powers ; but she 
found larger room for resistance to a disapproval 
of her marriage, because it is easier to make our 
conduct seem justifiable to ourselves than to make 
our ability strike others. " How can I help it ? " is 
not our favourite apology for incompetence. But 
Gwendolen felt some strength in saying — 

" How can I help what other people have done ? 
Things would not come right if I were to turn 
round now and declare that I would not marry 
Mr Grandcourt." And such turning round was 


out of the question. The horses in the chariot 
she had mounted were going at full speed. 

This mood of youthful, elated desperation had a 
tidal recurrence. She could dare anything that 
lay before her sooner than she could choose to go 
backward into humiliation; and it was even sooth- 
ing to think that there would now be as much ill- 
doing in the one as in the other. But the im- 
mediate delightful fact was the hunt, where she 
would see Deronda, and where he would see her ; 
for always lurking ready to obtrude before other 
thoughts about him was the impression that he 
was very much interested in her. But to-day she 
was resolved not to repeat her folly of yesterday, 
as if she were anxious to say anything to him. 
Indeed, the hunt would be too absorbing. 

And so it was for a long while. Deronda was 
there, and within her sight very often ; but this 
only added to the stimulus of a pleasure which 
Gwendolen had only once before tasted, and which 
seemed likely always to give a delight independent 
of any crosses, except such as took away the 
chance of riding. No accident happened to throw 
them together; the run took them within con- 
venient reach of home, and in the agreeable 
sombreness of the grey November afternoon, with 
a long stratum of yellow light in the west, Gwen- 


dolen was returning with the company from Dip- 
low, who were attending her on the way to Offen- 
dene. Now that the sense of glorious excitement 
was over and gone, she was getting irritably dis- 
appointed that she had had no opportunity of 
speaking to Deronda, whom she would not see 
again, since he was to go away in a couple of days. 
What was she going to say ? That was not quite 
certain. She wanted to speak to him. Grand- 
court was by her side ; Mrs Torrington, her hus- 
band, and another gentleman in advance ; and De- 
ronda's horse she could hear behind. The wish 
to speak to him and have him speaking to her 
was becoming imperious ; and there was no chance 
of it, unless she simply asserted her will and 
defied everything. Where the order of things 
could give way to Miss Gwendolen, it must be 
made to do so. They had lately emerged from 
a wood of pines and beeches, where the twilight 
stillness had a repressing effect, which increased 
her impatience. The horse -hoofs again heard 
behind at some little distance were a growing 
irritation. She reined in her horse and looked 
behind her; Grandcourt, after a few paces, also 
paused; but she, waving her whip and nodding 
sideways with playful imperiousness, said, " Go 
on ! I want to speak to JMr Deronda." 


Graiidcourt hesitated ; but that he would have 
done after any proposition. It was an awkwaid 
situation for him. No gentleman, before marriage, 
could give the emphasis of refusal to a command 
delivered in this playful way. He rode on slowly, 
and she waited till Deronda came up. He looked 
at her with tacit inquiry, and she said at once, 
letting her horse go alongside of his — 

" Mr Deronda, you must enlighten my ignorance. 
I want to know why you thought it wrong for me 
to gamble. Is it because I am a woman ? " 

" Not altogether ; but I regretted it the more be- 
cause you were a woman," said Deronda, with an 
irrepressible smile. Apparently it must be under- 
stood between them now that it was he who sent 
the necklace. " I think it would be better for 
men not to gamble. It is a besotting kind of 
taste, likely to turn into a disease. And, besides, 
there is something revolting to me in raking a 
heap of money together, and internally chuckling 
over it, when others are feeling the loss of it. I 
should even caU it base, if it were more than an 
exceptional lapse. There are enough inevitable 
turns of fortune which force us to see that our 
gain is another's loss : — that is one of the ugly 
aspects of Hfe. One would like to reduce it as 
much as one could, not get amusement out of ex- 


aggerating it." Deronda's voice had gathered some 
indignation while he was speaking. 

" But you do admit that we can't help things," 
said Gwendolen, with a drop in her tone. The 
answer had not been anything like what she had 
expected. "I mean that things are so in spite 
of us; we can't always help it that our gain is 
another's loss." 

" Clearly. Because of that, we should help it 
where we can." 

Gwendolen, biting her lip inside, paused a 
moment, and then forcing herself to speak with 
an air of playfulness again, said — 

" But why should you regret it more because I 
am a woman ? " 

'* Perhaps because we need that you should be 
better than we are." 

" But suppose we need that men should be better 
than we are," said Gwendolen, with a little air of 

"That is rather a difficulty," said Deronda, 
smiling. " I suppose I should have said, we each 
of us think it would be better for the other to be 

" You see, I needed you to be better than I was 
— and you thought so," said Gwendolen, nodding 
and laughing, while she put her horse forward 


and joined Grandcourt, who made no observa- 

" Don't you want to know what I had to say to 
Mr Deronda ? " said Gwendolen, whose own pride 
required her to account for her conduct. 

"A — no," said Grandcourt, coldly. 

" Now that is the first impolite word you have 
spoken — that you don't wish to hear what I had 
to say," said Gwendolen, playing at a pout. 

" I wish to hear what you say to me — not to 
other men," said Grandcourt. 

"Then you wish to hear this. I wanted to 
make him tell me why he objected to my gam- 
bling, and he gave me a little sermon." 

" Yes — but excuse me the sermon." If Gwen- 
dolen imagined that Grandcourt cared about her 
speaking to Deronda, he wished her to understand 
that she was mistaken. But he was not fond of 
being told to ride on. She saw he was piqued, 
but did not mind. She had accomplished her 
object of speaking again to Deronda before he 
raised his hat and turned with the rest towards 
Diplow, while her lover attended her to Offendene, 
where he was to bid farewell before a whole day's 
absence on the unspecified journey. Grandcourt 
had spoken truth in calling the journey a bore : 
he was going by train to Gadsmere. 



No penitence and no confessional : 

No priest ordains it, yet they're forced to sit 

Amid deep ashes of their vanished years. 

Imagine a rambling, patchy house, the best part 
built of grey stone, and red-tiled, a round tower 
jutting at one of the corners, the mellow darkness 
of its conical roof surmounted by a weather-cock 
making an agreeable object either amidst the 
gleams and greenth of summer or the low-hanging 
clouds and snowy branches of winter : the grounds 
shady with spreading trees : a great cedar flourish- 
ing on one side, backward some Scotch firs on a 
broken bank where the roots hung naked, and 
beyond, a rookery: on the other side a pool 
overhung with bushes, where the water-fowl 
fluttered and screamed: all around, a vast mea- 
dow which might be called a park, bordered by 
an old plantation and guarded by stone lodges 
which looked like little prisons. Outside the 
gate the country, once entirely, rural and lovely, 


now black with coal-mines, was chiefly peopled hy- 
men and brethren with candles stuck in their hats, 
and with a diabolic complexion which laid them 
peculiarly open to suspicion in the eyes of the 
children at Gadsmere — Mrs dasher's four beauti- 
ful children, who had dwelt there for about three 
years. Now, in November, when the flower- 
beds were empty, the trees leafless, and the pool 
blackly shivering, one might have said that the 
place was sombrely in keeping with the black 
roads and black mounds which seemed to put the 
district in mourning ; — except when the children 
were playing on the gravel with the dogs for their 
companions. But Mrs Glasher under her present 
circumstances liked Gadsmere as well as she 
would have liked any other abode. The complete 
seclusion of the place, which the unattractiveness 
of the country secured, was exactly to her taste. 
When she drove her two ponies with a waggonet 
full of children, there were no gentry in carriages 
to be met, only men of business in gigs ; at 
church there were no eyes she cared to avoid, for 
the curate's wife and the curate himself were 
either ignorant of anything to her disadvantage, 
or ignored it : to them she was simply a widow 
lady, the tenant of Gadsmere; and the name of 
Grandcourt was of little interest in that district 


compared with the names of Fletcher and Gaw- 
come, the lessees of the collieries. 

It was full ten years since the elopement of an 
Irish officer's beautiful wife with young Grandcourt, 
and a consequent duel where the buUets wounded 
the air only, had made some little noise. Most of 
those who remembered the affair now wondered 
what had become of that Mrs Glasher whose 
beauty and brilliancy had made her rather con- 
spicuous to them in foreign places, where she was 
known to be living with young Grandcourt. 

That he should have disentangled himself from 
that connection seemed only natural and desir- 
able. As to her it was thought that a woman 
who was understood to have forsaken her child 
along with her husband had probably sunk lower. 
Grandcourt had of course got weary of her. He 
was much given to the pursuit of women ; but a 
man in his position would by this time desire to 
make a suitable marriage with the fair young 
daughter of a noble house. No one talked of 
Mrs Glasher now, any more than they talked of 
the victim in a trial for manslaughter ten years 
before : she was a lost vessel after whom nobody 
would send out an expedition of search; but 
Grandcourt was seen in harbour with his colours 
Hying, registered as seaworthy as ever. 


Yet in fact Grandcourt had never disentangled 
himself from Mrs Glasher. His passion for her 
had been the strongest and most lasting he had 
ever known ; and though it was now as dead as 
the music of a cracked flute, it had left a certain 
dull disposedness, which on the death of her hus- 
band three years before had prompted in him a 
vacillating notion of marrying her, in accordance 
with the understanding often expressed between 
them during the days of his first ardour. At that 
early time Grandcourt would willingly have paid 
for the freedom to be won by a divorce ; but the 
husband would not oblige him, not wanting to be 
married again himself, and not wishing to have 
his domestic habits printed in evidence. 

The altered poise which the years had brought 
in Mrs Glasher was just the reverse. At first she 
was comparatively careless about the possibility of 
marriage. It was enough that she had escaped from 
a disagreeable husband and found a sort of bliss 
with a lover who had completely fascinated her — 
young, handsome, amorous, and living in the best 
style, with equipage and conversation en suite, of the 
kind to be expected in young men of fortune who 
have seen everything. She was an impassioned, 
vivacious woman, fond of adoration, exasperated 
by five years of marital rudeness ; and the sense 


of release was so strong upon her that it stilled 
anxiety for more than she actually enjoyed. An 
equivocal position was of no importance to her then; 
she had no envy for the honours of a dull, disre- 
garded wife : the one spot which spoiled her vision 
of her new pleasant world, was the sense that she 
had left her three-year-old boy, who died two years 
afterwa^'ds, and whose first tones saying " mamma " 
retained a difference from those of the children 
that came after. But now the years had brought 
many changes besides those in the contour of her 
cheek and throat ; and that Grandcourt should 
marry her had become her dominant desire. The 
equivocal position which she had not minded 
about for herself was now telling upon her through 
her children, whom she loved with a devotion 
charged with the added passion of atonement. 
She had no repentance except in this direction. 
If Grandcourt married her, the children would be 
none the worse off for what had passed: they 
would see their mother in a dignified position, and 
they would be at no disadvantage with the world : 
her son would be made his father's heir. It was 
the yearning for this result which gave the supreme 
importance to Grandcourt's feeling for her; her 
love for him had long resolved itself into anxiety 
that he should give her the unique, permanent 


claim of a wife, and she expected no other hap- 
piness in marriage than the satisfaction of her 
maternal love and pride — including her pride for 
herself in the presence of her children. For the 
sake of that result she was prepared even with a 
tragic firmness to endure anything quietly in 
marriage ; and she had had acuteness enough to 
cherish Grandcourt's flickering purpose nega- 
tively, by not molesting him with passionate 
appeals and with scene-making. In her, as in 
every one else who wanted anything of him, his 
incalculable turns, and his tendency to harden 
under beseeching, had created a reasonable dread : 
— a slow discovery, of which no presentiment 
had been given in the bearing of a youthful lover 
with a fine line of face and the softest manners. 
But reticence had necessarily cost something to 
this impassioned woman, and she was the bitterer 
for it. There is no quailing — even that forced on 
the helpless and injured — which has not an ugly 
obverse : the withheld sting was gathering venom. 
She was absolutely dependent on Grandcourt ; for 
though he had been always liberal in expenses 
for her, he had kept everything voluntary on his 
part ; and with the goal of marriage before her 
she would ask for nothing less. He had said that 
he would never settle anything except by will ; and 


when she was thinking of alternatives for the 
future it often occurred to her that, even if she did 
not become Grandcourt's wife, he might never 
have a son who would have a legitimate claim on 
him, and the end might be that her son would 
be made heir to the best part of his estates. No 
son at that early age could promise to have more 
of his father's jphysique. But her becoming 
Grandcourt's wife was so far from being an extra- 
vagant notion of possibility, that even Lush had 
entertained it, and had said that he would as soon 
bet on it as on any other likelihood with regard 
to his familiar companion. Lush, indeed, on infer- 
ring that Grandcourt had a preconception of using 
his residence at Diplow in order to win Miss 
Arrowpoint, had thought it well to fan that pro- 
ject, taking it as a tacit renunciation of the mar- 
riage with Mrs Glasher, which had long been a 
mark for the hovering and wheeling of Grand- 
court's caprice. But both prospects had been 
negatived by Gwendolen's appearance on the 
scene ; and it was natural enough for Mrs Glasher 
to enter with eagerness into Lush's plan of hin- 
dering that new danger by setting up a barrier 
in the mind of the girl who was being sought as 
a bride. She entered into it with an eagerness 
which had passion in it as well as purpose, 


some of the stored-up venom delivering itseK in 
that way. 

After that, she had heard from Lush of Gwen- 
dolen's departure, and the probability that all 
danger from her was got rid of; but there had 
been no letter to tell her that the danger had re- 
turned and had become a certainty. She had 
since then written to Grandcourt as she did habit- 
ually, and he had been longer than usual in an- 
swering. She was inferring that he might intend 
coming to Gadsmere at the time when he was 
actually on the way; and she was not without 
hope — what construction of another's mind is not 
strong wishing equal to ? — ^that a certain sicken- 
ing from that frustrated courtship might dispose 
him to slip the more easily into the old track of 

Grandcourt had two grave purposes in coming 
to Gadsmere : to convey the news of his approach- 
ing marriage in person, in order to make this first 
difficulty final ; and to get from Lydia his mother's 
diamonds, which long ago he had confided to her 
and wished her to wear. Her person suited dia- 
monds and made them look as if they were worth 
some of the money given for them. These parti- 
cular diamonds were not mountains of light — they 
were mere peas and haricots for the ears, neck, and 



hair ; but they were worth some thousands, and 
Grandcourt necessarily wished to have them for his 
wife. Formerly when he had asked Lydia to put 
them into his keeping again, simply on the ground 
that they would be safer and ought to be deposited 
at the bank, she had quietly but absolutely refused, 
declaring that they were quite safe ; and at last had 
said, " If you ever marry another woman I will 
give them up to her: are you going to marry 
another woman ? " At that time Grandcourt had no 
motive which urged him to persist, and he had 
this grace in him, that the disposition to exercise 
power either by cowing or disappointing others or 
exciting in them a rage which they dared not ex- 
press — a disposition which was active in him as 
other propensities became languid — had always 
been in abeyance before Lydia. A severe inter- 
preter might say that the mere facts of their rela- 
tion to each other, the melancholy position of this 
woman who depended on his will, made a standing 
banquet for his delight in dominating. But there 
was something else than this in his forbearance 
towards her: there was the surviving though 
metamorphosed effect of the power she had had 
over him ; and it was this effect, the fitful dull 
lapse towards solicitations that once had the zest 
now missing from life, which had again and again 


inclined him to espouse a familiar past rather than 
rouse himself to the expectation of novelty. But 
now novelty had taken hold of him and urged him 
to make the most of it. 

Mrs Glasher was seated in the pleasant room 
where she habitually passed her mornings with 
her children round her. It had a square project- 
ing window and looked on broad gravel and grass, 
sloping towards a little brook that entered the pool. 
The top of a low black cabinet, the old oak table, 
the chairs in tawny leather, were littered with the 
children's toys, books, and garden garments, at 
which a maternal lady in pastel looked down from 
the walls with smiling indulgence. The children 
were all there. The three girls, seated round their 
mother near the window, were miniature portraits 
of her — dark-eyed, delicate-featured brunettes with 
a rich bloom on their cheeks, their little nostrils and 
eyebrows singularly finished as if they were tiny 
women, the eldest being barely nine. The boy was 
seated on the carpet at some distance, bending his 
blond head over the animals from a Noah's ark, 
admonishing them separately in a voice of threat- 
ening command, and occasionally licking the 
spotted ones to see if the colours would hold. 
Josephine, the eldest, was having her French 
lesson ; and the others, with their dolls on their 


laps, sate demurely enough for images of the 
Madonna. Mrs Glasher's toilet had been made 
very carefully — each day now she said to herself 
that Grandcourt might come in. Her head, which, 
spite of emaciation, had an ineffaceable beauty in 
the fine profile, crisp curves of hair, and clearly- 
marked eyebrows, rose impressively above her 
bronze-coloured silk and velvet, and the gold neck- 
lace which Grandcourt had first clasped round 
her neck years ago. Not that she had any 
pleasure in her toilet; her chief thought of her- 
self seen in the glass was, "How changed!" — ^but 
such good in life as remained to her she would 
keep. If her chief wish were fulfilled, she could 
imagine herself getting the comeliness of a matron 
fit for the highest rank. The little faces beside 
her, almost exact reductions of her own, seemed to 
tell of the blooming curves which had once been 
where now was sunken pallor. But the children 
kissed the pale cheeks and never found them de- 
ficient. That love was now the one end of her 

Suddenly Mrs Glasher turned away her head 
from Josephine's book and listened. "Hush, 
dear ! I think some one is coming." 

Henleigh the boy jumped up and said, " Mamma, 
is it the miller with my donkey ? " 


He got no answer, and going up to his mamma's 
knee repeated his question in an insistent tone. 
But the door opened, and the servant announced 
Mr Grandcourt. Mrs Glasher rose in some agita- 
tion. Henleigh frowned at him in disgust at his 
not being the miller, and the three little girls lifted 
up their dark eyes to him timidly. They had 
none of them any particular liking for this friend 
of mamma's — in fact, when he had taken Mrs 
Glaslier's hand and then turned to put his other 
hand on Henleigh's head, that energetic scion be- 
gan to beat the friend's arm away with his fists. 
The little girls submitted bashfully to be patted 
under the chin and kissed, but on the whole it 
seemed better to send them into the garden, where 
they were presently dancing and chatting with 
the dogs on the gravel. 

" How far are you come ? " said Mrs Glasher, as 
Grandcourt put away his hat and overcoat. 

"From Diplow," he answered slowly, seating 
himself opposite her and looking at her with an 
unnoting gaze which she noted. 

" You are tired, then." 

" No, I rested at the Junction — a hideous hole. 
These railway journeys are always a confounded 
bore. But I had coffee and smoked." 

Grandcourt drew out his handkerchief, rubbed 


his face, and in returning the handkerchief to his 
pocket looked at his crossed knee and blameless 
boot, as if any stranger were opposite to him, 
instead of a woman quivering with a suspense 
which every word and look of his was to incline 
towards hope or dread. But he was really occu- 
pied with their interview and what it was likely 
to include. Imagine the difference in rate of 
emotion between this woman whom the years had 
worn to a more conscious dependence and sharper 
eagerness, and this man whom they were dulling 
into a more and more neutral obstinacy. 

" I expected to see you — it was so long since I 
had heard from you. I suppose the weeks seem 
longer at Gadsmere than they do at Diplow," said 
Mrs Glasher. She had a quick, incisive way of 
speaking that seemed to go with her features, as 
the tone and timhre of a violin go with its form. 

"Yes," drawled Grandcourt. "But you found 
the money paid into the bank." 

" Oh yes," said Mrs Glasher, curtly, tingling with 
impatience. Always before — at least she fancied 
so — Grandcourt had taken more notice of her and 
the children than he did to-day. 

"Yes," he resumed, playing with his whisker, 
and at first not looking at her, " the time has gone 
on at rather a rattling pace with me ; generally it 


is slow enough. But there has been a.^ood deal 
happening, as you know " — here he turned his eyes 
upon her. 

" What do I know ? " said she, sharply. 

He left a pause before he said, without change 
of manner, "That I was thinking of marrying. 
You saw Miss Harleth ? " 

"/SAe told you that?" 

The pale cheeks looked even paler, perhaps from 
the fierce brightness in the eyes above them. 

" 'No. Lush told me," was the slow answer. It 
was as if the thumb-screw and the iron-boot were 
being placed by creeping hands within sight of the 
expectant victim. 

" Good God ! say at once that you are going to 
marry her," she burst out passionately, her knee 
shaking and her hands tightly clasped. 

"Of course, this kind of thing must happen 
some time or other, Lydia," said he ; really, now 
the thumb-screw was on, not wishing to make the 
pain worse. 

" You didn't always see the necessity." 

" Perhaps not. I see it now." 

In those few undertoned words of Grandcourt's 
she felt as absolute a resistance as if her thin 
fingers had been pushing at a fast-shut iron door. 
She knew her helplessness, and shrank from test- 


ing it by any appeal — shrank from crying in a dead 
ear and clinging to dead knees, only to see the 
immovable face and feel the rigid limbs. She did 
not weep nor speak : she was too hard pressed by 
the sudden certainty whicb had as much of chill 
sickness in it as of thought and emotion. The 
defeated clutch of struggling hope gave her in 
these first moments a horrible sensation. At last 
she rose with a spasmodic effort, and, unconscious 
of everything but her wretchedness, pressed her 
forehead against the hard cold glass of the win- 
dow. The children, playing on the gravel, took 
this as a sign that she wanted them, and running 
forward stood in front of her with their sweet faces 
upturned expectantly. This roused her : she shook 
her head at them, waved them off, and overcome 
with this painful exertion sank back in the nearest 

Grandcourt had risen too. He was doubly 
annoyed — at the scene itself, and at the sense 
that no imperiousness of his could save him from 
it; but the task had to be gone through, and 
there was the administrative necessity of arrang- 
ing things so that there should be as little annoy- 
ance as possible in future. He was leaning against 
the corner of the fireplace. She looked up at him 
and said bitterly — 

" All this is of no consequence to you. I and 


the children are importunate creatures. You wish 
to get away again and be with Miss Harleth." 

" Don't make the affair more disagreeable than it 
need be, Lydia. It is of no use to harp on things 
that can't be altered. Of course it's deucedly dis- 
agreeable to me to see you making yourself miser- 
able. I've taken this journey to tell you what 
you must make up your mind to ; — you and the 
children will be provided for as usual; — and 
there's an end of it." 

Silence. She dared not answer. This woman 
with the intense eager look had had the iron of 
the mother's anguish in her soul, and it had made 
her sometimes capable of a repression harder than 
shrieking and struggle. But underneath the silence 
there was an outlash of hatred and vindictiveness : 
she wished that the marriage might make two 
others wretched, besides herself. Presently he 
went oa 

"It will be better for you. You may go on 
living here. But I think of by-and-by settling a 
good sum on you and the children, and you can 
live where you like. There wiU be nothing for 
you to complain of then. Whatever happens, you 
will feel secure. Nothing could be done before- 
hand. Everything has gone on in a hurry." 

Grandcourt ceased his slow delivery of sen- 
tences. He did not expect her to thank him, but 


he considered that she might reasonably he con- 
tented ; if it were possible for Lydia to be con- 
tented. She showed no change, and after a minute 
he said — 

" You have never had any reason to fear that I 
should be illiberal. I don't care a curse about the 

" If you did care about it, I suppose you would 
not give it us," said Lydia. The sarcasm was irre- 

"That's a devilishly unfair thing to say," 
Grandcourt replied, in a lower tone; "and I 
advise you not to say that sort of thing again." 

" Should you punish me by leaving the children 
in beggary ? " In spite of herself, the one outlet 
of venom had brought the other. 

" There is no question about leaving the children 
in beggary," said Grandcourt, still in his low voice. 
"I advise you not to say things that you will 
repent of." 

"I am used to repenting," said she, bitterly. 
"Perhaps you will repent. You have already 
repented of loving me." 

" All this will only make it uncommonly diffi- 
cult for us to meet again. What friend have you 
besides me ? " 

"Quite true." 


The words came like a low moan. At the same 
moment there flashed through her the wish that 
after promising himself a better happiness than 
that he had had with her, he might feel a misery 
and loneliness which would drive him back to 
her to find some memory of a time when he was 
young, glad, and hopeful. But no ! he would go 
scathless ; it was she who had to suffer. 

With this the scorching words were ended. 
Grandcourt had meant to stay till evening ; he 
wished to curtail his visit, but there was no suit- 
able train earlier than the one he had arranged to 
go by, and he had still to speak to Lydia on the 
second object of his visit, which like a second sur- 
gical operation seemed to require an interval. The 
hours had to go by ; there was eating to be done ; 
the children came in again — all this mechanism of 
life had to be gone through with the dreary sense 
of constraint which is often felt in domestic quar- 
rels of a commoner kind. To Lydia it was some 
slight relief for her stifled fury to have the chil- 
dren present : she felt a savage glory in their 
loveliness, as if it would taunt Grandcourt with 
his indifference to her and them — a secret darting 
of venom which was strongly imaginative. He 
acquitted himself with all the advantage of a man 
whose grace of bearing has long been moulded on 


an experience of boredom — nursed the little An- 
tonia, who sat with her hands crossed and eyes 
upturned to his bald head, which struck her as 
worthy of observation — and propitiated Henleigh 
by promising him a beautiful saddle and bridle. 
It was only the two eldest girls who had known 
him as a continual presence ; and the intervening 
years had overlaid their infantine memories with 
a bashfulness which Grandcourt's bearing was not 
likely to dissipate. He and Lydia occasionally, in 
the presence of the servants, made a conventional 
remark; otherwise they never spoke; and the stag- 
nant thought in Grandcourt's mind all the while 
was of his own infatuation in having given her 
those diamonds, which obliged him to incur the 
nuisance of speaking about them. He had an 
ingrained care for what he held to belong to his 
caste, and about property he liked to be lordly ; 
also he had a consciousness of indignity to him- 
self in having to ask for anything in the world. 
But however he might assert his independence of 
Mrs Glasher's past, he had made a past for himself 
which was a stronger yoke than any he could im- 
pose. He must ask for the diamonds which he 
had promised to Gwendolen. 

At last they were alone again, with the candles 
above them, face to face with each other. Grand- 


court looked at his watch, and then said, in an 
apparently indifferent drawl, " There is one thing 
I had to mention, Lydia. My diamonds — you 
have them." 

"Yes, I have them," she answered promptly, 
rising, and standing with her arms thrust down 
and her fingers threaded, while Grandcourt sat 
stilL She had expected the topic, and made her 
resolve about it. But she meant to carry out her 
resolve, if possible, without exasperating him. 
During the hours of silence she had longed to 
recall the words which had only widened the 
breach between them. 

" They are in this house, I suppose ? ' 

" No ; not in this house." 

** I thought you said you kept them by you." 

" When I said so it was true. They are in the 
bank at Dudley." 

" Get them away, will you ? I must make an 
arrangement for your delivering them to some one." 

" Make no arrangement. They shall be deliv- 
ered to the person you intended them for. / will 
make the arrangement." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" What I say. I have always told you that I 
would give them up to your wife. I shall keep 
my word. She is not your wife yet." 


"This is foolery," said Grandcourt, with un- 
dertoned disgust. It was too irritating that his 
indulgence of Lydia had given her a sort of 
mastery over him in spite of her dependent con- 

She did not speak. He also rose now, but 
stood leaning against the mantelpiece with his 
side-face towards her. 

" The diamonds must be delivered to me before 
my marriage," he began again. 

" What is your wedding-day ? " 

" The tenth. There is no time to be lost." 

" And where do you go after the marriage ? " 

He did not reply except by looking more sul- 
len. Presently he said, " You must appoint a day 
before then, to get them from the bank and meet 
me — or somebody else I will commission: — it's 
a great nuisance. Mention a day." 

" No ; I shall not do that. They shall be deliv- 
ered to her safely. I shall keep my word." 

"Do you mean to say," said Grandcourt, just 
audibly, turning to face her, " that you will not do 
as I tell you ? " 

" Yes, I mean that," was the answer that leaped 
out, while her eyes flashed close to him. The poor 
creature was immediately conscious that if her 
words had any effect on her own lot, the effect 


must be mischievous, and might nullify all the 
remaining advantage of her long patience. But 
the word had been spoken. 

He was in a position the most irritating to him. 
He could not shake her nor touch her hostilely ; 
and if he could, the process would not bring the 
diamonds. He shrank from the only sort of threat 
that would frighten her — if she believed it. And 
in general, there was nothing he hated more than 
to be forced into anything like violence even in 
words : his will must impose itself without trouble. 
After looking at her for a moment, he turned his 
side-face towards her again, leaning as before, 
and said — 

" Infernal idiots that women are ! " 

" Why will you not tell me where you are going 
after the marriage ? I could be at the wedding if 
I liked, and learn in that way," said Lydia, not 
shrinking from the one suicidal form of threat 
within her power. 

" Of course, if you like, you can play the mad 
woman," said Grandcourt, with sotto voce scorn. 
" It is not to be supposed that you will wait to 
think what good will come of it — or what you owe 
to me." 

He was in a state of disgust and embitterment 
quite new in the history of their relation to eacb 


other. It was undeniable that this woman whose 
life he had allowed to send such deep suckers 
into his had a terrible power of annoyance in her ; 
and the rash hurry of his proceedings had left her 
opportunities open. His pride saw very ugly pos- 
sibilities threatening it, and he stood for several 
minutes in silence reviewing the situation — con- 
sidering how he could act upon her. Unlike him- 
self she was of a direct nature, with certain simple 
strongly-coloured tendencies, and there was one 
often-experienced effect which he thought he 
could count upon now. As Sir Hugo had said 
of him, Grandcourt knew how to play his cards 
upon occasion. 

He did not speak again, but looked at his 
watch, rang the bell, and ordered the vehicle to 
be brought round immediately. Then he removed 
farther from her, walked as if in expectation of a 
summons, and remained silent without turning his 
eyes upon her. 

She was suffering the horrible conflict of self- 
reproach and tenacity. She saw beforehand 
Grandcourt leaving her without even looking at 
her again — ^herself left behind in lonely uncer- 
tainty — hearing nothing from him — not knowing 
whether she had done her children harm — feeling 
that she had perhaps made him hate her : — all the 


wretchedness of a creature who had defeated her 
own motives. And yet she could not bear to give 
up a purpose which was a sweet morsel to her 
vindictiveness. If she had not been a mother she 
would willingly have sacrificed herself to her re- 
venge — ^to what she felt to be the justice of hinder- 
ing another from getting happiness by willingly 
giving her over to misery. The two dominant 
passions were at struggle. She must satisfy them 

" Don't let us part in anger, Henleigh," she be- 
gan, without changing her place or attitude : " it 
is a very little thing I ask. If I were refusing to 
give anything up that you call yours, it would 
be different : that would be a reason for treating 
me as if you hated me. But I ask such a little 
thing. If you will tell me where you are going 
on the wedding-day, I will take care that the 
diamonds shall be delivered to her without 
scandal Without scandal," she repeated en- 

"Such preposterous whims make a woman 
odious," said Grandcourt, not giving way in look 
or movement. "What is the use of talking to 
mad people ? " 

"Yes, I am foolish — loneliness has made me 
foolish — indulge me." Sobs rose as she spoka 

VOL. II. s 


" If you will indulge me in this one folly, I will 
be very meek — I will never trouble you." She 
burst into hysterical crying, and said again almost 
with a scream — " I will be very meek after that." 

There was a strange mixture of acting and 
reality in this passion. She kept hold of her 
purpose as a child might tighten its hand over a 
small stolen thing, crying and denying all the 
while. Even Grandcourt was wrought upon by 
surprise : this capricious wish, this childish vio- 
lence, was as unlike Lydia's bearing as it was in- 
congruous with her person. Both had always had 
a stamp of dignity on them. Yet she seemed 
more manageable in this state than in her former 
attitude of defiance. He came close up to her 
again, and said, in his low imperious tone, "Be 
quiet, and hear what I tell you. I will never for- 
give you if you present yourself again and make a 

She pressed her handkerchief against her face, 
and when she could speak firmly said, in the 
muffled voice that follows sobbing, " I will not — 
if you will let me have my way — I promise you 
not to thrust myself forw^ard again. I have never 
broken my word to you — how many have you 
broken to me ? When you gave me the diamonds 
to wear, you were not thinking of having another 


wife. And I now give them up — I don't reproach 
you — I only ask you to let me give them up in my 
own way. Have I not borne it well ? Everything is 
to be taken away from me, and when I ask for a 
straw, a chip — you deny it me." She had spoken 
rapidly, but after a little pause she said more 
slowly, her voice freed from its muffled tone : " I 
will not bear to have it denied me." 

Grandcourt had a baffling sense that he had to 
deal with something like madness ; he could only 
govern by giving way. The servant came to say 
the fly was ready. When the door was shut 
again, Grandcourt said, sullenly, "We are going 
to Eyelands, then." 

"They shall be delivered to her there," said 
Lydia, with decision. 

" Very well, I am going." He felt no inclina- 
tion even to take her hand : she had annoyed 
him too sorely. But now that she had gained her 
point, she was prepared to humble herself that she 
might propitiate him. 

" Forgive me ; I will never vex you again," she 
said, with beseeching looks. Her inward voice 
said distinctly — ' It is only I who have to forgive.' 
Yet she was obliged to ask forgiveness. 

" You had better keep that promise. You have 
made me feel uncommonly ill with your folly," 


said Grandcourt, apparently choosing this state- 
ment as the strongest possible use of language. 

" Poor thing ! " said Lydia, with a faint smile : — 
was he aware of the minor fact that he had made 
her feel ill this morning ? 

But with the quick transition natural to her, 
she was now ready to coax him if he would let 
her, that they might part in some degree recon- 
ciled. She ventured to lay her hand on his 
shoulder, and he did not move away from her: 
she had so far succeeded in alarming him, that 
he was not sorry for these proofs of returned 

" Light a cigar," she said, soothingly, taking the 
case from his breast-pocket and opening it. 

Amidst such caressing signs of mutual fear they 
parted. The effect that clung and gnawed within 
Grandcourt was a sense of imperfect mastery. 



" A wild dedication of yourselves 
To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores." 

— Shakespeare. 

On the day when Gwendolen Harleth was married 
and became Mrs Grandcourt, the morning was 
clear and bright, and while the sun was low a 
slight frost crisped the leaves. The bridal party 
was worth seeing, and half Pennicote turned out 
to see it, lining the pathway up to the church. 
An old friend of the Kector's performed the mar- 
riage ceremony, the Eector himself acting as 
father, to the great advantage of the procession. 
Only two faces, it was remarked, showed signs of 
sadness — Mrs Davilow's and Anna's. The mother's 
delicate eyelids were pink, as if she had been cry- 
ing half the night ; and no one was surprised that, 
splendid as the match was, she should feel the 
parting from a daughter who was the flower of 
her children and of her own life. It was less un- 


derstood why Anna should be troubled when she 
was being so well set off by the bridesmaid's dress. 
Every one else seemed to reflect the brilliancy of 
the occasion — the bride most of all. Of her it 
was agreed that as to figure and carriage she was 
worthy to be a " lady o' title : " as to face, perhaps 
it might be thought that a title required some- 
thing more rosy ; but the bridegroom himself not 
being fresh-coloured — being indeed, as the miller's 
wife observed, very much of her own husband's 
complexion — the match was the more complete. 
Anyhow he must be very fond of her ; and it was 
to be hoped that he would never cast it up to her 
that she had been going out to service as a gover- 
ness, and her mother to live at Sawyer's Cottage 
— vicissitudes which had been much spoken of in 
the village. The miller's daughter of fourteen 
could not believe that high gentry behaved badly 
to their wives, but her mother instructed her — 
" Oh, child, men's men : gentle or simple, they're 
much of a muchness. I've heard my mother say 
Squire Pelton used to take his dogs and a long 
whip into his wife's room, and flog 'em there to 
frighten her ; and my mother was lady's-maid 
there at the very time." 

" That's unlucky talk for a wedding, Mrs 
Girdle," said the tailor. "A quarrel may end 


wi' the whip, but it begins wi' the tongue, and 
it's the women have got the most o' that." 

" The Lord gave it 'em to use, I suppose," said 
Mrs Girdle ; " He never meant you to have it all 
your own way." 

" By what I can make out from the gentleman 
as attends to the grooming at Offendene," said the 
tailor, "this Mr Grandcourt has wonderful little 
tongue. Everything must be done dummy-like 
without his ordering." 

" Then he's the more whip, I doubt," said Mrs 
Girdle. "She's got tongue enough, I warrant 
her. See, there they come out together ! " 

" What wonderful long corners she's got to her 
eyes ! " said the tailor. " She makes you feel comi- 
cal when she looks at you." 

Gwendolen, in fact, never showed more elasti- 
city in her bearing, more lustre in her long brown 
glance : she had the brilliancy of strong excite- 
ment, which will sometimes come even from pain. 
It was not pain, however, that she was feeling: 
she had wrought herself up to much the same 
condition as that in which she stood at the gam- 
bling-table when Deronda was looking at her, and 
she began to lose. There was enjoyment in it : 
whatever uneasiness a growing conscience had 
created, was disregarded as an ailment might 


have been, amidst the gratification of that ambi- 
tious vanity and desire for luxury within her 
which it would take a great deal of slow poison- 
ing to kill. This morning she could not have 
said truly that she repented her acceptance of 
Grandcourt, or that any fears in hazy perspective 
could hinder the glowing effects of the immediate 
scene in which she was the central object. That 
she was doing something wrong — that a punish- 
ment might be hanging over her — that the woman 
to whom she had given a promise and broken it, was 
thinking of her in bitterness and misery with a 
just reproach — that Deronda with his way of look- 
ing into things very likely despised her for marry- 
ing Grandcourt, as he had despised her for gam- 
bling — above all, that the cord which united her 
with this lover ' and which she had hitherto held 
by the hand, was now being flung over her neck, — 
all this yeasty mingling of dimly understood facts 
with vague but deep impressions, and with images 
half real, half fantastic, had been disturbing her 
during the weeks of her engagement. Was that 
agitating experience nullified this morning ? No : 
it was surmounted and thrust down with a sort 
of exulting defiance as she felt herself standing 
at the game of life with many eyes upon her, 
daring everything to win much — or if to lose, 


still with 4clat and a sense of importance. But 
this morning a losing destiny for herself did not 
press upon her as a fear: she thought that she 
was entering on a fuller power of managing circum- 
stance — with all the official strength of marriage, 
which some women made so poor a use of. That 
intoxication of youthful egoism out of which she 
had been shaken by trouble, humiliation, and a new 
sense of culpability, had returned upon her under 
the newly-fed strength of the old fumes. She did 
not in the least present the ideal of the tearful, 
tremulous bride. Poor Gwendolen, whom some 
had judged much too forward and instructed in 
the world's ways ! — with her erect head and elas- 
tic footstep she was walking amid illusions ; and 
yet, too, there was an under-consciousness in her 
that she was a little intoxicated. 

" Thank God you bear it so well, my darling ! " 
said Mrs Davilow, when she had helped Gwendo- 
len to doff her bridal white and put on her travel- 
ling dress. All the trembling had been done by the 
poor mother, and her agitation urged Gwendolen 
doubly to take the morning as if it were a triumph. 

" Why, you might have said that, if I had been 
going to Mrs Mompert's, you dear, sad, incorrigible 
mamma ! " said Gwendolen, just putting her hands 
to her mother's cheeks with laughing tenderness — 


then retreating a little and spreading out her arms 
as if to exhibit herself. "Here am I — Mrs Grand- 
court ! what else would you have me, but what T 
am sure to be ? You know you were ready to die 
with vexation when you thought that I would not 
be Mrs Grandcourt." 

" Hush, hush, my child, for heaven's sake ! " said 
Mrs Davilow, almost in a whisper. " How can I 
help feeling it when I am parting from you ? But 
I can bear anything gladly if you are happy." 

" Not gladly, mamma, no ! " said Gwendolen, 
shaking her head, with a bright smile. " Willing- 
ly you would bear it, but always sorrowfully. 
Sorrowing is your sauce; you can take nothing 
without it." Then, clasping her mother's shoulders 
and raining kisses first on one cheek and then on 
the other between her words, she said, gaily, "And 
you shall sorrow over my having everything at 
my beck — and enjoying everything gloriously — 
splendid houses — and horses — and diamonds, I 
shall have diamonds — and going to court — and 
being Lady Certainly — and Lady Perhaps — and 
grand here — and tantivy there — and always lov- 
ing you better than anybody else in the world." 

" My sweet child ! — But I shall not be jealous 
if you love your husband better; and he will 
expect to be first." 


Gwendolen thrust out her lips and chin with 
a pretty grimace, saying, ''Kather a ridiculous 
expectation. However, I don't mean to treat 
him ill, unless he deserves it." 

Then the two fell into a clinging embrace, and 
Gwendolen could not hinder a rising sob when she 
said, " I wish you were going with me, mamma.*' 

But the slight dew on her long eyelashes only 
made her the more charming when she gave her 
hand to Grandcourt to be led to the carriage. 

The Eector looked in on her to give a final 
"Good-bye; God bless you; we shall see you 
again before long," and then returned to Mrs 
Davilow saying half cheerfully, half solemnly — 

" Let us be thankful, Fanny. She is in a posi- 
tion well suited to her, and beyond what I should 
have dared to hope for. And few women can 
have been chosen more entirely for their own 
sake. You should feel yourself a happy mother." 

There was a railway journey of some fifty miles 
before the new husband and wife reached the 
station near Ey elands. The sky had veiled itself 
since the morning, and it was hardly more than 
twilight when they entered the park -gates, but 
still Gwendolen, looking out of the carriage-win- 
dow as they drove rapidly along, could see the 


grand outlines and the nearer beauties of the scene 
— the long winding drive bordered with evergreens 
backed by huge grey stems ; then the opening of 
wide grassy spaces and undulations studded with 
dark clumps ; till at last came a wide level where 
the white house could be seen, with a hanging 
wood for a background, and the rising and sinking 
balustrade of a terrace in front. 

Gwendolen had been at her liveliest during the 
journey, chatting incessantly, ignoring any change 
in their mutual position since yesterday; and 
Grandcourt had been rather ecstatically quiescent, 
while she turned his gentle seizure of her hand 
into a grasp of his hand by both hers, with an 
increased vivacity as of a kitten that will not sit 
quiet to be petted. She was really getting some- 
what febrile in her excitement ; and now in this 
drive through the park her usual susceptibility to 
changes of light and scenery helped to make her 
heart palpitate newly. Was it at the novelty 
simply, or the almost incredible fulfilment about 
to be given to her girlish dreams of being " some- 
body " — walking through her own furlong of corri- 
dors and under her own ceilings of an out-of-sight 
loftiness, where her own painted Spring was shed- 
ding painted flowers, and her own foreshortened 
Zephyrs were blowing their trumpets over her; 


while her own servants, lackeys in clothing but 
men in balk and shape, were as nought in her pre- 
sence, and revered the propriety of her insolence 
to them: — being in short the heroine of an admired 
play without the pains of art ? Was it alone the 
closeness of this fulfilment which made her heart 
flutter? or was it some dim forecast, the insist- 
ent penetration of suppressed experience, mixing 
the expectation of a triumph with the dread of 
a crisis ? Hers was one of the natures in which 
exultation inevitably carries an infusion of dread 
ready to curdle and declare itself. 

She fell silent in spite of herself as they ap- 
proached the gates, and when her husband said, 
" Here we are at home ! " and for the first time 
kissed her on the lips, she hardly knew of it: 
it was no more than the passive acceptance of a 
greeting in the midst of an absorbing show. Was 
not all her hurrying life of the last three months a 
show, in which her consciousness was a wondering 
spectator ? After the half- wilful excitement of the 
day, a numbness had come over her personality. 

But there was a brilliant light in the hall — 
warmth, matting, carpets, full-length portraits, 
Olympian statues, assiduous servants. Not many 
servants, however: only a few from Diplow in 
addition to those constantly in charge of the house j 


and Gwendolen's new maid, who had come with 
her, was taken under guidance by the housekeeper. 
Gwendolen felt herself being led by Grandcourt 
along a subtly-scented corridor, then into an ante- 
room where she saw an open doorway sending out 
a rich glow of light and colour. 

" These are our dens," said Grandcourt. " You 
will like to be quiet here till dinner. We shall 
dine early." 

He pressed her hand to his lips and moved away, 
more in love than he had ever expected to be. 

Gwendolen, yielding up her hat and mantle, 
threw herself into a chair by the glowing hearth, 
and saw herself repeated in glass panels with all 
her faint-green satin surroundings. The house- 
keeper had passed into this boudoir from the ad- 
joining dressing-room and seemed disposed to 
linger, Gwendolen thought, in order to look at the 
new mistress of Eyelands, who however, being im- 
patient for solitude, said to her, "Will you tell 
Hudson when she has put out my dress to leave 
everything ? I shall not want her again, unless I 

The housekeeper, coming forward, said, " Here 
is a packet, madam, which I was ordered to give 
into nobody's hands but yours, when you were 
alone. The person who brought it said it was a 
present particularly ordered by Mr Grandcourt; 


but he was not to know of its arrival till he saw 
you wear it. Excuse me, madam ; I felt it right 
to obey orders." 

Gwendolen took the packet and let it lie on her 
lap till she heard the doors close. It came into 
her mind that the packet might contain the 
diamonds which Grandcourt had spoken of as 
being deposited somewhere and to be given to her 
on her marriage. In this moment of confused feel- 
ing and creeping luxurious languor she was glad 
of this diversion — glad of such an event as having 
her own diamonds to try on. 

Within all the sealed paper coverings was a box, 
but within the box there was a jewel-case ; and 
now she felt no doubt that she had the diamonds. 
But on opening the case, in the same instant that 
she saw their gleam she saw a letter lying above 
them. She knew the handwriting of the address. 
It was as if an adder had lain on them. Her heart 
gave a leap which seemed to have spent all her 
strength ; and as she opened the bit of thin paper, 
it shook with the trembling of her hands. But it 
was legible as print, and thrust its words upon her. 

" These diamonds, which were once given with 
ardent love to Lydia Glasher, she passes on to you. 
You have broken your word to her, that you might 
possess what was hers. Perhaps you think of being 


happy, as she once was, and of having beautiful 
children such as hers, who will thrust hers aside. 
God is too just for that. The man you have married 
has a withered heart. His best young love was 
mine ; you could not take that from me when you 
took the rest. It is dead ; but I am the grave in 
which your chance of happiness is buried as well 
as mine. You had your warning. You have 
chosen to injure me and my children. He had 
meant to marry me. He would have married me 
at last, if you had not broken your word. You 
will have your punishment. I desire it with all 
my soul. 

" Will you give him this letter to set him against 
me and ruin us more — me and my children ? Shall 
you like to stand before your husband with these 
diamonds on you, and these words of mine in his 
thoughts and yours ? Will he think you have any 
right to complain when he has made you miser- 
able ? You took him with your eyes open. The 
willing wrong you have done me will be your 

It seemed at first as if Gwendolen's eyes were 
spell-bound in reading the horrible words of the 
letter over and over again as a doom of penance ; 
but suddenly a new spasm of terror made her lean 


forward and stretch out the paper towards the fire, 
lest accusation and proof at once should meet all 
eyes. It flew like a feather from her trembling 
fingers and was caught up in the great draught of 
flame. In her movement the casket fell on the 
floor and the diamonds rolled out. She took no no- 
tice, but fell back in her chair again helpless. She 
could not see the reflections of herself then : they 
were like so many women petrified white ; but com- 
ing near herself you might have seen the tremor 
in her lips and hands. She sat so for a long while, 
knowing little more than that she was feeling ill, 
and that those written words kept repeating them- 
selves in her. 

Truly here were poisoned gems, and the poison 
had entered into this poor young creature. 

After that long while, there was a tap at the 
door and Grandcourt entered, dressed for dinner. 
The sight of him brought a new nervous shock, 
and Gwendolen screamed again and again with 
hysterical violence. He had expected to see her 
dressed and smiling, ready to be led down. He 
saw her pallid, shrieking as it seemed with terror, 
the jewels scattered around her on the floor. Was 
it a fit of madness ? 

In some form or other the Furies had crossed 
his threshold. 




In all ages it hath been a favourite text that a potent love hath the na- 
ture of an isolated fatality, whereto the mind's opinions and wonted resolves 
are altogether alien ; as, for example, Daphnis his frenzy, wherein it had 
little availed him to have been convinced of Heraclitus his doctrine ; or the 
philtre-bred passion of Tristan, who, though he had been as deep as Duns 
Scotus, would have had his reasoning marred by that cup too much ; or 
Romeo in his sudden taking for Juliet, wherein any objections he might 
have held against Ptolemy had made little difference to his discourse imder 
the balcony. Yet all love is not such, even though potent ; nay, this pas- 
sion hath as large scope as any for allying itself with every operation of the 
soul : so that it shall acknowledge an eflfect from the imagined light of 
unproven firmaments, and have its scale set to the grander orbits of what 
hath been and shall be. 

Deeonda, on his return to town, could assure Sir 
Hugo of his having lodged in Grandcourt*s mind 
a distinct understanding that he could get fifty- 
thousand pounds by giving up a prospect which 
was probably distant, and not absolutely certain ; 
but he had no further sign of Grandcourt's dispo- 
sition in the matter than that he was evidently- 
inclined to keep up friendly communications. 

" And what did you think of the future bride 
on a nearer survey ? " said Sir Hugo. 

" I thought better of her than I did at Leubronn. 


Eoulette was not a good setting for her ; it brought 
out something of the demon. At Diplow she 
seemed much more womanly and attractive — less 
hard and self-possessed. I thought her mouth 
and eyes had quite a different expression." 

" Don't flirt with her too much, Dan," said Sir 
Hugo, meaning to be agreeably playful. " If you 
make Grandcourt savage when they come to the 
Abbey at Christmas, it will interfere with my 

" I can stay in town, sir." 

"No, no. Lady Mallinger and the children 
can't do without you at Christmas. Only don't 
make mischief — unless you can get up a duel, 
and manage to shoot Grandcourt, which might be 
worth a little inconvenience." 

"I don't think you ever saw me flirt," said 
Deronda, not amused. 

" Oh, haven't I, though ? " said Sir Hugo, pro- 
vokingly. "You are always looking tenderly at 
the women, and talking to them in a Jesuitical 
way. You are a dangerous young fellow — a kind 
of Lovelace who will make the Clarissas run after 
you instead of your running after them." 

What was the use of being exasperated at a 
tasteless joke ? — only the exasperation comes be- 
fore the reflection on utility. Few friendly re- 


marks are more annoying than the information 
that we are always seeming to do what we never 
mean to do. Sir Hugo's notion of flirting, it was 
to be hoped, was rather peculiar; for his own 
part, Deronda was sure that he had never flirted. 
But he was glad that the baronet had no know- 
ledge about the redemption of Gwendolen's 
necklace to feed his taste for this kind of 

He would be on his guard in future ; for ex- 
ample, in his behaviour at Mrs Meyrick's, where 
he was about to pay his first visit since his arrival 
from Leubronn. For Mirah was certainly a crea- 
ture in whom it was difficult not to show a tender 
kind of interest both by looks and speech. 

Mrs Meyrick had not failed to send Deronda a 
report of Mirah's wellbeing in her family. " We 
are getting fonder of her every day," she had writ- 
ten. " At breakfast-time we all look towards the 
door with expectation to see her come in ; and we 
watch her and listen to her as if she were a native 
from a new country. I have not heard a word 
from her lips that gives me a doubt about her. 
She is quite contented and full of gratitude. My 
daughters are learning from her, and they hope to 
get her other pupils ; for she is anxious not to eat 
the bread of idleness, but to work, like my girls. 


Mab says our life has become like a fairy tale, 
and all she is afraid of is that Mirah will turn 
into a nightingale again and fly away from us. 
Her voice is just perfect : not loud and strong, 
but searching and melting, like the thoughts of 
what has been. That is the way old people like 
me feel a beautiful voice." 

But Mrs Meyrick did not enter into particulars 
which would have required her to say that Amy 
and Mab, who had accompanied Mirah to the 
synagogue, found the Jewish faith less reconcil- 
able with their wishes in her case than in that of 
Scott's Eebecca. They kept silence out of deli- 
cacy to Mirah, with whom her religion was too 
tender a subject to be touched lightly ; but after 
a while. Amy, who was much of a practical re- 
former, could not restrain a question. 

"Excuse me, Mirah, but does it seem quite 
right to you that the women should sit behind 
rails in a gallery apart ? " 

"Yes, I never thought of anything else," said 
Mirah, with mild surprise. 

" And you like better to see the men with their 
hats on ? " said Mab, cautiously proposing the 
smallest item of difference. 

"Oh yes. I like what I have always seen 
there, because it brings back to me the same feel- 


ings — ^the feelings I would not part with for any- 
thing else in the world." 

After this, any criticism, whether of doctrine or 
of practice, would have seemed to these generous 
little people an inhospitable cruelty. Mirah's 
religion was of one fibre with her affections, and 
had never presented itself to her as a set of pro- 

" She says herself she is a very bad Jewess, and 
does not half know her people's religion," said 
Amy, when Mirah was gone to bed. "Perhaps 
it would gradually melt away from her, and she 
would pass into Christianity like the rest of the 
world, if she got to love us very much, and never 
found her mother. It is so strange to be of the 
Jews' religion now." 

" Oh, oh, oh ! " cried Mab. " I wish I were not 
such a hideous Christian. How can an ugly 
Christian, who is always dropping her work, con- 
vert a beautiful Jewess, who has not a fault ? " 

" It may be wicked of me," said shrewd Kate, 
" but I cannot help wishing that her mother may 
not be found. There might be something un- 

" I don't think it, my dear," said Mrs Meyrick. 
" I believe Mirah is cut out after the pattern of 
her mother. And what a joy it would be to her 


to have such a daughter brought back again ! But 
a mother's feelings are not worth reckoning, I sup- 
pose " (she shot a mischievous glance at her own 
daughters), "and a dead mother is worth more 
than a living one ? " 

" Well, and so she may be, little mother," said 
Kate ; " but we would rather hold you cheaper, 
and have you alive." 

Not only the Meyricks, whose various know- 
ledge had been acquired by the irregular foraging 
to which clever girls have usuall}' been reduced, 
but Deronda himself, with all his masculine in- 
struction, had been roused by this apparition of 
Mirah to the consciousness of knowing hardly any- 
thing about modern Judaism or the inner Jewish 
history. The Chosen People have been commonly 
treated as a people chosen for the sake of some- 
body else; and their thinking as something (no mat- 
ter exactly what) that ought to have been entirely 
otherwise ; and Deronda, like his neighbours, had 
regarded Judaism as a sort of eccentric fossil- 
ised form, which an accomplished man might dis- 
pense with studying, and leave to specialists. 
But Mirah, with her terrified flight from one 
parent, and her yearning after the other, had 
flashed on him the hitherto neglected reality that 
Judaism was something still throbbing in human 


lives, still making for them the only conceivable 
vesture of the world ; and in the idling excursion 
on which he immediately afterwards set out with 
Sir Hugo he began to look for the outsides of syn- 
agogues, and the titles of books about the Jews. 
This wakening of a new interest — this passing 
from the supposition that we hold the right 
opinions on a subject we are careless about, to a 
sudden care for it, and a sense that our opinions 
were ignorance — is an effectual remedy for ennui, 
which unhappily cannot be secured on a physi- 
cian's prescription; but Deronda had carried it 
with him, and endured his weeks of lounging 
all the better. It was on this journey that he 
first entered a Jewish synagogue — at Frankfort — 
where his party rested on a Friday. In exploring 
the Juden-gasse, which he had seen long before, 
he remembered well enough its picturesque old 
houses ; what his eyes chiefly dwelt on now were 
the human types there ; and his thought, busily 
connecting them with the past phases of their 
race, stirred that fibre of historic sympathy which 
had helped to determine in him certain traits worth 
mentioning for those who are interested in his 
future. True, when a young man has a fine person, 
no eccentricity of manners, the education of a 
gentleman, and a present income, it is not custom- 


ary to feel a prying curiosity about his way of 
thinking, or his peculiar tastes. He may very well 
be settled in life as an agreeable clever young fel- 
low without passing a special examination on those 
heads. Later, when he is getting rather slovenly 
and portly, his peculiarities are more distinctly 
discerned, and it is taken as a mercy if they are 
not highly objectionable. But any one wishing to 
understand the effect of after-events on Deronda 
should know a little more of what he was at five- 
and-twenty than was evident in ordinary inter- 

It happened that the very vividness of his im- 
pressions had often made him the more enigmatic 
to his friends, and had contributed to an apparent 
indefiniteness in his sentiments. His early- wak- 
ened sensibility and reflectiveness had developed 
into a many-sided sympathy, which threatened to 
hinder any persistent course of action : as soon 
as he took up any antagonism, though only in 
thought, he seemed to himself like the Sabine 
warriors in the memorable story — with nothing to 
meet his spear but flesh of his flesh, and objects \^ 
that he loved. His imagination had so wrought 
itself to the habit of seeing things as they pro- 
bably appeared to others, that a strong partisan- 
ship, unless it were against an immediate op- 


pression, had become an insincerity for him. His 
plenteous, flexible sympathy had ended by fall- 
ing into one current with that reflective analysis 
which tends to neutralise sympathy. Tew men 
were able to keep themselves clearer of vices than 
he ; yet he hated vices mildly, being used to think 
of them less in the abstract than as a part of mixed 
human natures having an individual history, which 
it was the bent of his mind to trace with under- 
standing and pity. With the same innate balance 
he was fervidly democratic in his feeling for the 
multitude, and yet, through his afifections and 
imagination, intensely conservative ; voracious of 
speculations on government and religion, yet loath 
to part with long-sanctioned forms which, for him, 
were quick with memories and sentiments that 
no argument could lay dead. We fall on the 
leaning side; and Deronda suspected himself of 
loving too well the losing causes of the world. 
Martyrdom changes sides, and he was in danger 
of changing with it, having a strong repugnance 
to taking up that clue of success which the order 
of the world often forces upon us and makes it 
treason against the common weal to reject. And 
yet his fear of falling into an unreasoning narrow 
hatred made a check for him : he apologised for 
the heirs of privilege ; he shrank with dislike from 


the loser's bitterness and the denunciatory tone of 
the unaccepted innovator. A too reflective and 
diffusive sympathy was in danger of paralysing 
in him that indignation against wrong and that 
selectness of fellowship which are the conditions of 
moral force ; and in the last few years of confirmed 
manhood he had become so keenly aware of this 
that what he most longed for was either some 
external event, or some inward light, that would 
urge him into a definite line of action, and compress 
his wandering energy. He was ceasing to care for 
knowledge — he had no ambition for practice — 
unless they could both be gathered up into one 
current with his emotions ; and he dreaded, as if 
it were a dwelling-place of lost souls, that dead 
anatomy of culture which turns the universe into 
a mere ceaseless answer to queries, and knows, not 
everything, but everything else about everything 
— as if one should be ignorant of nothing con- 
cerning the scent of violets except the scent itself 
for which one had no nostril But how and 
whence was the needed event to come ? — ^the in- 
fluence that would justify partiality, and make 
him what he longed to be yet was unable to make 
himself — an organic part of social life, instead of 
roaming in it like a yearning disembodied spirit, 
stirred with a vague social passion, but without 


fixed local Iiabitation to render fellowship real ? 
To make a little difference for the better was what 
he was not contented to live without ; but how 
make it ? It is one thing to see your road, another 
to cut it. He found some of the fault in his birth 
and the way he had been brought up, which had 
laid no special demands on him and given him no 
fixed relationship except one of a doubtful kind ; 
but he did not attempt to hide from himself that 
he had fallen into a meditative numbness, and was 
gliding farther and farther from that life of prac- 
tically energetic sentiment which he would have 
proclaimed (if he had been inclined to proclaim 
anything) to be the best of all life, and for him- 
self the only life worth living. He wanted some 
way of keeping emotion and its progeny of senti- 
ments — which make the savours of life — substan- 
tial and strong in the fac^a reflectiveness that 
threatened to nullify aU differences. To pound 
the objects of sentiment into small dust, yet keep 
sentiment alive and active, was something like the 
famous recipe for making cannon — to first take a 
round hole and then enclose it with iron ; what- 
ever you do keeping fast hold of your round hole. 
Yet how distinguish what our will may wisely 
save in its completeness, from the heaping of cat- 


mummies and the expensive cult of enshrined 
putrefactions ? 

Something like this was the common under- 
current in Deronda's mind, while he was reading 
law, or imperfectly attending to polite conversa- 
tion. Meanwhile he had not set about one func- 
tion in particular with zeal and steadiness. Not 
an admirable experience, to be proposed as an 
ideal ; but a form of struggle before break of day 
which some young men since the patriarch have 
had to pass through, with more or less of bruising 
if not laming. 

I have said that under his calm exterior he had 
a fervour which made him easily feel the presence 
of poetry in everyday events ; and the forms of 
the Juden-gasse, rousing the sense of union 
with what is remote, set him musing on two ele- 
ments of our historic life which that sense raises 
into the same region of poetry : — the faint begin- 
nings of faiths and institutions, and their obscure 
lingering decay ; the dust and withered remnants 
with which they are apt to be covered, only 
enhancing for the awakened perception the im- 
pressiveness either of a sublimely penetrating life, 
as in the twin green leaves that will become the 
sheltering tree, or of a pathetic inheritance in 


which all the grandeur and the glory have become 
a sorrowing memory. 

This imaginative stirring, as he turned out of 
the Juden-gasse, and continued to saunter in the 
warm evening air, meaning to find his way to the 
synagogue, neutralised the repellent effect of cer- 
tain ugly little incidents on his way. Turning into 
an old book-shop to ask the exact time of service at 
the synagogue, he was affectionately directed by a 
precocious Jewish youth, who entered cordially into 
his wanting not the fine new building of the Ee- 
formed but the old Eabbinical school of the ortho- 
dox; and then cheated him like a pure Teuton, only 
with more amenity, in his charge for a book quite 
out of request as one " nicht so leicht zu bekom- 
men." Meanwhile at the opposite counter a deaf 
and grisly tradesman was casting a flinty look at 
certain cards, apparently combining advantages 
of business with religion, and shoutingly proposed 
to him in Jew-dialect by a dingy man in a tall 
coat hanging from neck to heel, a bag in hand, and 
a broad low hat surmounting his chosen nose — 
who had no sooner disappeared than another dingy 
man of the same pattern issued from the back- 
ward glooms of the shop and also shouted in the 
same dialect. In fact, Deronda saw various queer- 
looking Israelites not altogether without guile, 


and just distinguishable from queer-looking Chris- 
tians of the same mixed morale. In his anxiety 
about Mirah's relatives, he had lately been think- 
ing of vulgar Jews with a sort of personal alarm. 
But a little comparison will often diminish our 
surprise and disgust at the aberrations of Jews 
and other dissidents whose lives do not offer a 
consistent or lovely pattern of their creed; and 
this evening Deronda, becoming more conscious 
that he was falling into unfairness and ridiculous 
exaggeration, began to use that corrective com- 
parison : he paid his thaler too much, without 
prejudice to his interest in the Hebrew destiny, or 
his wish to find the Rabbinische Schule, which he 
arrived at by sunset, and entered with a good 
congregation of men. 

He happened to take his seat in a line with an 
elderly man from whom he was distant enough to